With ComScore reporting that in January 2011, over 89 million people in the U.S. accessed the Internet from their mobile device, nearly 40% of all mobile subscribers, mobiles sites are becoming a must-have for any businesses.
Here are the 10 best tips for creating a successful mobile site:
- Make sure the mobile site design and features fit your marketing objectives and targeted audience. Designing an entertainment mobile site for an 18-25 youth demographic and providing information on health insurance to baby boomers require radically different strategies.
- Browser recognition is a must for best user experience—make sure you have a device testing strategy to ensure an optimized user experience for the phone types associated with your target audiences.
- Landing pages and feature phone sites should be simple and quick, with a look and feel that’s good on all models. The user experience on smart phones is radically different than on feature phones so be aware you need to design for the limitations or extended capabilities of both phone types.
- For all phone types keep content manageable, you’re limited by real estate and sometimes bandwidth, and keep content concise and design for the small screen. Feature key products or highly relevant content to maximize site usability.
- Ensure that the overall size of a page is appropriate to the memory limitations of the device and customize content according to device requirements.
- Keep text as text, don’t make text into images as it increases load speed. Remember the years when we used dial-up modem for the Internet, using phones today on carrier data networks can be a similar experience.
- Lean toward using links for navigation on feature phone sites and avoid overuse of graphic buttons etc. The benefit of snappy performance far outweighs the frustration of slow page rendering.
- Optimize for the handsets using style sheets, and consider optimization in the design process.
- Keep URLs short, and make sure your online Web URL redirects to the mobile site if your mobile site shares the same URL as your online site.
- Add buttons to social networks (Twitter, Facebook etc.) to increase reach and ROI.
A list of mobile sites samples is available at m.iloopmobile.com.
Virginie Glaenzer is Director of Marketing at iLoop Mobile. Connect with Virginie on Twitter @virginieg.