Do you know your website visitors? Do you know where they come from? Do you know how they got to your site? Consider how you got to this blog post. Do you know with what devices they are surfing your website? In response to the continuous increase in mobile internet users, this article focuses on the importance of having a mobile friendly website. Going mobile is not just the future, it is the now.

My recent analyzes of data from web properties we manage here at blueGEEK revealed close to 70%(at times more) of the site visitor where from tablets and mobile devices. The use of mobile devices to surf the web is growing at an astronomical pace, but unfortunately most websites aren’t optimized for these mobile devices. These sites include news websites, political blogs, business website, eCommerce, forums etc.

internet users in Nigeria -

Millions of internet users start and end their days surfing the internet in Nigeria, most of them do this from S40 OS devices, android devices, blackberry, Windows mobile OS run devices or any other smart device. These devices are usually the first thing we pick up in the morning, even before stepping out of bed, and that’s usually because it was the last thing we held on to before sleeping the night before.

cdma internet users in NigeriaNigeria has over 72 Million internet users [as at August 2014 according to NCC]

While stats provided by StatCounter are subjective and estimates, it still gives figures not far from our personal experience. According to StatCounter Global Stats;
Mobile users account for 74.6% of web users in Nigeria
Desktop users account for 21.85% of web users in Nigeria
Tablet users account for 3.55% of web users in Nigeria

Today, web designers have to think like marketers, we need to design for users and no one else. We know today the majority of internet users surf the web on the go with smart and mobile devices. These mobile devices are often constrained by display size and require a different approach to how content is laid out on screen.

There is a multitude of different screen sizes across phones, tablets, desktops, game consoles, TVs, even wearables. Screen sizes will always be changing, so it’s important that your site can adapt to any screen size, today or in the future.

Responsive web design  responds to the needs of the users and the devices they’re using. The layout changes based on the size and capabilities of the device. For example, on a phone, users would see content shown in a single column view; a tablet might show the same content in two columns, while on a laptop it might show the same page in three columns. It’s a smarter way to create for today’s web and may be the most budget-conscious and future-proof way of creating for today’s web too.

Earlier this year Google and AnswerLab undertook some research examining how web users interacted with a diverse set of mobile sites. The goal was to answer the question: what makes a good mobile site?

The results uncovered design principles, which were grouped into five sections:

  1. Site-wide Design Considerations
  2. Home Page & Navigation
  3. Site Search
  4. Commerce & Conversions
  5. Form Entry

The common finding in all sections is that mobile users are very goal-oriented – they expect to be able to get what they need from a mobile site easily, immediately, and on their own terms.

  • Site-wide Design Considerations – Mobile users will notice and be delighted by the small things you do for them to enhance their experience. Optimize your entire site for mobile. Make zooming easy and seamless.
  • Home page and site navigation – A desktop homepage often serves many purposes, but the mobile homepage should focus on connecting users to the content they’re looking for. Designers have to take into consideration what the home page will look like on mobile devices, will the text and messages still be readable, are the call to actions clear on mobile devices etc. Menus should be kept short and clear. Make it easy to navigate back to the home page.
  • Site search – Site search is vital for helping mobile users find what they’re looking for in a hurry. Site search should be visible.
  • Commerce and conversion – The customer journey is getting more complex, and users expect to convert on their own terms. Let your mobile users explore before they commit, let them purchase as a guest
  • Form entry – Whether it’s making a purchase, getting a quote or joining an email list, your user’s conversion experience should be as seamless as possible. Choose the simplest input method

You can Read or download the full study here

Knowing that approximately 70% of your website visitors are mobile users, you have to rethink your current approach to website design. With the popularity and recommendation for responsive design(which by the way, i believe has come to stay), a lot of websites today have to consider how it renders on multiple devices and how, this affect the users experience. The key principles of websites design is to delight users and drive conversions. High performance web sites lead to higher visitor engagement, retention and conversions.

Optimizing your websites for mobile users is very important; whether you are building a new site or redesigning an existing site. The truth is, we are attached to our mobile devices so much that we cant even go to the toilet without having it with us. 🙂 I recommend you browse through your website using different mobile devices to see what the user experience feels like. Responsinator is an online tool you can use to test a website on different resolutions, this tool shows you how your website displays on different hand-held devices like iPhone, iPad, Kindle and Android Smartphones.

What percent of all your site traffic is mobile, tablet and desktop? Kindly share with all, lets know how big a factor mobile is in web design.