Jul 23, 2012 by Aaron Rubman
9% of all US web traffic comes through some sort of mobile device*
That’s more than a 10% growth of market share since this time last year.
Of that traffic:
- 40% used iOS (iPhone, iPad)
- 40% used Android
- 9% used iPod Touch
- 4% used BlackBerry
- 2% used Nokia
- 2% used Opera
- the remaining 3% com from assorted small name browsers
* figures provided by http://gs.statcounter.com/
The mobile web has introduced new hazards that should be addressed immediately. Both of these ideas may once have seemed like good ideas, but they are now online poison.
Flash is dead space. It may have been industry standard 5 years ago, but it never made the jump to mobile. Any of the following could be powered by Adobe Flash:
- Slide shows
- Video Players
- Anything on your site that moves or changes shape
If you are not sure if your website uses Flash, right click (or control-click) over the suspect element. If you see “About Adobe Flash Player” among the options, you have a problem.
Never send your mobile visitors to an alternate site.
One early method for making the web more “mobile friendly” involved redirecting mobile visitors to no-frills sites that were less taxing on the limited memory of smart phones.
These sites invariably have fewer options and different site architecture than the original. That means that visitors who are trying to access a specific page (either from a document or from a search engine) will be directed to the wrong place!
It is much better to run on the assumption that any data on your site should be equally accessible to any platform – and then build variant designs that carry the same options from a desktop layout to a mobile.
http://xkcd.com/869/ Creative Commons Attribution (Randall Munroe) Non-Commercial License 2.5
Have you ever tried reading a computer monitor from 20’ away?
Doesn’t seem particularly practical, does it? But that’s basically what you’re asking your visitors to do when you ask them to view a website designed for a 21” desktop monitor on a screen that only measures 2½”. Designs specifically built for mobile devices can avoid this problem (and still not redirect your visitors).
Your Hand is not a Mouse
The desktop interface uses a cursor, handheld devices don’t. This means that a number of functions developed to react to the presence of a singular point of interaction won’t work on mobile phones.
- Tool tips don’t appear when you hover over them
- Images don’t change to show that they’re selectable
- Drag-and-drop can conflict with scrolling commands
Mobile designs have to find different ways to encourage interaction.
Make it an App?
If your website provides a service like a debt calculator or a chat function which has proven popular among returning visitors – it may be worth creating an app that allows people to jump right to the relevant function and which taps deeper mobile functionality.