A mobile-optimized website is great to have for your targeted audiences; however without observing best practices or understanding what a mobile visitor requires from a mobile website will only leave your solution partially complete.

We asked Joe Marcallini, SteadyRain’s VP of Internet Strategy what he feels are the most important best practices to consider with your mobile strategy. With using Google’s mobile best practices as the framework to build upon, here is Joe’s Top Five List:

1. Keep it Quick

Mobile users are often short on time, squeezing in online tasks as they go about their day. To help them, design your site to load fast and make copy easy to read.

According to a recent survey by Keynote, two-thirds of smartphone users cited that the mobile web pages were loading too slowly. 60 percent of tablet users expect to wait less than three seconds to get to a website, while 82% of respondents want a mobile website to load within five seconds.

Brands should be aware: 16% of mobile users will not return or wait for your website to load if it takes too long and 6% will go to a competitor’s website.

Here are a few quick ways to increase mobile on-site visits:

  • Prioritize the content and features that mobile users need most.
  • Use your desktop site analytics to see what mobile users are doing.
  • Reduce large blocks of text and use bullet points for easy reading.
  • Compress images to keep them small for faster site loading.

2. Simplify Navigation

No one likes to be confused so be sure to not overcomplicate the navigational structure of a mobile site. Clear navigation and, with more complex mobile sites, the addition of search functionality, will help your customers easily find what they need.

Action Items to improve mobile navigation:

  • Minimize scrolling and keep it vertical only.
  • Use a clear hierarchy in menus and avoid rollovers.
  • Help users navigate between levels with clear “Back” and “Home” buttons.
  • Use seven links or fewer per page of navigation.

3. Be Thumb-Friendly

Think of how your audience will interact with your mobile site. People use their fingers to operate mobile devices – especially their thumbs. Design your site so even large hands can easily interact with it.

Thoughts for thumb-friendliness:

  • Use large, centered buttons and give them breathing room to reduce accidental clicks.
  • Pad smaller buttons to increase the clickable area.
  • Pad check boxes by making the text clickable.

4. Design for Visibility

A mobile-optimized site gets the message across without causing eyestrain. Make it easy for your customers to read – remember they may be in a place with low light.

Allow your message and products to be seen with these tips:

  • Create contrast between background and text.
  • Make sure content fits on screen and can be read without pinching and zooming.
  • Use size and color to indicate link/button priority.

5. Use Mobile Site Redirects

This is extremely important. A mobile redirect is code that automatically detects if a visitor is viewing your site on a mobile device.

If a mobile device is detected, the mobile-version of the site will be shown to your visitor. Be sure to have an experienced developer implement this redirect code so your customers get the best version of your site for their needs.

Present the best site with your visitor’s device in mind:

  • Give users a choice to go back to the desktop site, but make it easy to return to the mobile site.
  • Let users choose which version they prefer to see for later visits.
  • Include key information, such as your address or a store locator, on the redirect page.

Have you started work on a mobile website strategy or interested in more ways to improve your mobile presence? Contact Joe and the SteadyRain Mobile Team today!