A standard website is built with a large screen and a mouse in mind. This means that unless something is intentionally done, people with smaller screens might find themselves with a sub-par experience. This could be caused by text that is difficult to read, buttons or links that are difficult to interact with, images or videos being too large and too slow on a mobile phone network, or items on the screen simply being too big to fit.
“Unless something is intentionally done, people with smaller screens might find themselves with a sub-par experience.”
Nearly all websites are functional on modern smartphones—even those that were designed only with a desktop computer in mind, but you often run into problems like those above, and that might just be enough to put a customer off.
A mobile website is designed to fit a smaller screen, with easy to press buttons and navigation items, easy to use contact pages and—if required—pages containing only the information someone might require on the go, all with a design in-keeping with your branding but suited to the size of screen available.
At ISSL we go one better by creating ‘responsive’ websites as standard. These websites look their best on the widest possible range of devices—from the very small to the very large—while keeping all of the benefits of a mobile website. They aren’t designed with any screen size in mind—smart defaults are used so that everything ’responds’ to changes in screen size.
Benefits of a mobile or responsive website
We think there are two (equally important) things every website should aim for. The first is to get a company’s message across and provide the information that a visitor might need. The second is to be as user-friendly and accessible as possible, so that the maximum number of people can find that information.
“We think websites should be enjoyed, and if someone is enjoying your site or finding it easy to use, we think they are more likely to interact with it—and your business.”
By showing the exact same website on both types of device you are not providing the best experience for at least one of those. We think websites should be enjoyed, and if someone is enjoying your site or finding it easy to use, we think they are more likely to interact with it—and your business. This applies to almost any company, from someone scanning through an estate agent’s properties to viewing a restaurant’s menu and a great user experience is part of that.
But it isn’t all about taking larger components and rearranging them so that they fit. A mobile-optimised site can be designed so that key information—such as an email address or phone number—is more readily available to a mobile user, making it easier to find what you need on a small screen.
What about apps?
Apps are great, but they’re not always universal—if you’re an Apple user and have heard about a great new Android app, you know what we mean.
The major downside of an app is that you need to develop for each platform you want to use—such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone. However, a mobile or responsive website will generally work on any reasonably modern device with a browser, minimising development costs. It also only leaves you with one thing to update.
The other main downside of a native app is visibility. If someone doesn’t have your app downloaded, they can’t use it—even if they just wanted a phone number.