I was sitting around my local coffee shop the other day waiting for a client and started to look around. Remember the days when everyone had a laptop? Not any more. As I sat there, I did notice a couple of laptops. But most people sat there with their mobile phones and tablets putting in a little work time while they met with clients or enjoyed their coffees. Me included.
Yep, I doubt it will take too much longer before those heavy laptops all but disappear. And sitting down to a desktop … they’ll be gone too before you know it. Why do you need something big, heavy and tethered to one location when you can move freely with mobile devices?
Creating a site that is optimized for mobile doesn’t just mean moving off a Flash platform. It means thinking a whole new way about the experience you wish to portray to your clients who are finding you via their mobile devices.
Yes, it may be a low percentage today. But that’s increasing every day. Stats are showing that mobile could be in the high majority in as little as two years. The last thing you want to be is the last photographer focusing in on why your old, archaic website doesn’t work. Here are some things to start considering now as you make your move.
It’s The Internet, Not Two Separate Tools
When mobile technology first made its appearance, many photographers had a major problem. Flash doesn’t work on iPhones or iPads, which means your Flash site isn’t viewable on those devices. While many photographers said “So what?”, to do so ignored a huge population that may be potential clients. Likewise, many retail store thought of their retail and online stores as two separate units. I remember trying to return something I purchased online to a local retail store in the early days of the Internet, and they simply couldn’t take the item back.
Today, many people think the same way when it comes to a website and a mobile website. They are two separate units – build one for traditional online users, and have another for mobile technology. Again, that’s the wrong way to think. A prospect is a prospect. Some will want limited information – your phone number for instance. Others will want to pour over your site and spend hours doing so. You don’t know who your visitors are and what they desire. So you should always be giving them the optimal experience, no matter where they access it from. One site; one purpose.
The Quality Of Images Is Changing
Remember when the rule was to include small, thumbnail sized images for optimal load time? That’s not the case with new technology. With the new mobile devices with retina display, they actually display over four times the number of pixels of the original devices. To avoid pixilation, increase your image size to a width of 640 pixels.
What Can You Click On With Your Finger?
Mobile users don’t have the accuracy of clicking with a mouse. Instead they use their fingertips to touch the screen. If you have tiny little buttons to click to the next level, you may lose the sale. Apple has said that the average finger tap on its iPhone technology is 44px x 44px. Make your buttons around that size to make them visually appealing and leave them clickable for all.
Hovers No Longer Exist
With websites today, we can build all kinds of things into our platforms. To increase user accessibility, many sites use the hover or mouseover function where additional displays will appear when your mouse hovers over the area. With a mobile platform, the hover style will display on your device and remain there even after the user moves his or her finger away. Which can be annoying to say the least. Simplify and direct people where you want them to go instead.
Help Visitors Return Quickly
Do you have a site your visitors will come back to again and again? Make the process as quick as possible. Instead of using an ugly default icon, create one that matches your business branding. Hopefully your users will add it to their home screen for easy access. And because many users don’t always have a fast Internet connection, make sure you design your site to cache for offline access.
Include An Option For Viewing As A Normal Website
While it is important to think towards the future, you can always give them the option to take a step back. Mobile optimized interfaces may work for some, yet some might want a more traditional view. The important thing is to be ready for it all, and give the client what they truly demand and want.