The future is mobile! More and more people now believe and understand the importance of mobile websites. With the busy lifestyles that people live, and with mobile phone technology rapidly increasing, it is not a surprise that a large majority or internet users are now using their mobile phones to access the internet on the move.
Many people visit websites looking for certain information, such as telephone numbers, opening hours, pricing etc. Mobile websites are idea for portraying simple information such as this, as they are the ‘slimmed down’ version of the original website page – all information is straight to the point , informative and very convenient for the user visiting the site, therefore, is it not fair to say that maybe mobile websites may be more important than a normal website?
If your Dental practice does not have a mobile website, it should do! It has been said that by 2014 the majority of internet users will browse the internet via mobile devices – now is the perfect time to set up and start using your mobile website, get one step ahead now!
I’ll just come out and say it: websites and web applications should be designed for mobile first.
For years, most teams did the opposite. Mobile, if it happened at all, was a port of the desktop version that was conceived of, designed and built before anyone even considered the mobile experience.
And for a long time, this made perfect sense: browsing the web on mobile phones was painful; carriers controlled access to the web on their devices; and mobile network speeds made everything grind to a halt way too often.
But things have changed so dramatically over the past few years that starting with the desktop may be an increasingly backwards way of thinking. Designing for mobile first can open up new opportunities for growth and lead to a better overall user experience.
Let’s dig into the three key reasons why: mobile is seeing explosive growth; mobile forces you to focus; and mobile extends your capabilities.
First, growth. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the latest stats, I’ll give you a quick recap: mobile is growing like crazy. While analysts have long heralded mobile as “the next big thing”, their prophecies are finally bearing fruit.
Perhaps the most complete and inspiring set of statistics comes from Morgan Stanley Research’s Mobile Internet Report. This treasure trove of data on what’s happening in mobile highlights some really shocking figures: mobile internet adoption is outpacing the astounding growth of desktop internet adoption; smartphones are expected to outship the global PC market in 2012; and heavy mobile data users will triple to one billion by 2013. That’s a huge audience emerging very fast. So now’s the time to seize the mobile opportunity!
But this isn’t just an opportunity to create a mobile version of a web product to take advantage of this growth; it’s an opportunity to provide a vastly improved experience for your users.
Consider the social networking service Facebook. There are more than 100million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. These users are twice as active on Facebook as non-mobile users.
The combination of mobile and desktop experiences results in more engaged users across both sets of devices. That’s because Facebook doesn’t just think of its mobile experience as a port of the desktop site. It embraces it as a way to make the entire Facebook experience better.
In the words of Joe Hewitt, lead developer of Facebook’s iPhone application: “My goal was initially just to make a mobile companion, but I became convinced it was possible to create a version of Facebook that was actually better than the website.” That’s really the mobile opportunity in a nutshell.
Now … how do the constraints and capabilities of mobile devices help get you there?
Forced to focus
Designing for the mobile environment comes with a natural set of constraints. While some might argue these constraints limit mobile design, I believe they are inherently good for user experience and, as a result, business overall.
In particular, the small screens, slow connections and context of use of mobile devices are strong catalysts for great web design.
Perhaps the most impactful of these constraints is screen space. When you’re working with a 480×320 pixel screen (found on the first three generations of Apple’s iPhone, the first generation of Android phones, and the Palm Pre), 80 per cent of the screen space you had at 1024×768 (common for most websites on the desktop) is gone.
That means 80 per cent of the content, navigation, promotions and interactions you could fit on the desktop needs to go. And that’s … great.
Losing that much screen space forces web teams to focus. You have to make sure that what stays on the screen is the most important set of features for your customers and your business. There simply isn’t room for any interface debris or content of questionable value. You need to know what matters most.
In order to do that you need to really know your customers and your business. Which is good design 101. Designing for mobile forces you to get there, like it or not. Consider the difference between Expedia’s travel itinerary screen on its desktop website and its iPhone experience.