In the not-so-distant past, a website owner could design a site that fit the normal sized PC screen and be covered. Not so anymore. Even a cursory look at the many screen sizes available today will prove that one size does NOT fit all anymore. This means that we must now design sites that will fit any device, not just mobile devices and laptops.
At issue is how does a site owner design a site that can work well on any device screen. Studies show that millions of consumers are now shopping and surfing on devices that have screens ranging in size from a few inches to large, flat-screen, wall-hung monitors. For lack of a better term, we can call this multiple-screen strategies.
Basic Strategies: Responsive and Adaptive
With more than a billion people using their devices for surfing, it is worth the time and effort to make some adjustments so that you are not left out of this huge market. Sites should implement at least one of the following strategies:
Simplified Site Design
If you have not done so yet, get a smartphone and pull your site. Take a good look at it and see if the design works this size of screen. If you see problems, consider redesigning some of its elements such as font sizes (use larger ones), move important information so it is above the fold, use larger buttons, and put your key contact information at the top left of the page.
The other option you have is create a mirror version of your site by using one of the mobile site design services. Many of these are free to use but do understand that if the site has certain sub-domains, the search engines may not be able to find it. Google and Bing both suggest using only one URL for your sites.
This incorporates a complete re-design of the website. Generally, this is what the big boys do as they can afford it. With this strategy, the design itself detects what kind of device is accessing it and pulls up the appropriate design for that device. It “adapts” to the device.
Responsive strategy design is generally much more affordable. It uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) technology that will create a single version of the site that will automatically adjust to properly display on all types of devices. This strategy allows you to be seen by the most surfers.
Regardless of which strategy you decide to use, remember that your site content has to be snappy in order to work. Mobile users are usually in more of a hurry to get in and move out than PC users. Make access easy and quick, put your important info on the top of the screen and use maps if you want them to come to you.
While this may all sound like a pain, it has to be done if you want your company to enjoy the benefits of mobile marketing, which most experts agree is only going to grow over the next few decades.