Mobile and responsive design


(Yes, you need it!)

You’ve probably heard that little factoid about how mobile internet use is now bigger than desktops. But what does that mean for your business & for your website?

Well, it’s hard to know without looking at your statistics (and this is definitely something we can do in our free 30 minute consultation!) exactly how much *your* market share is made of mobile. If this number is super high, it means you are either doing a great job at reaching these users, or that a lot of users are seeing a potentially weird and wonky version of your site. Make sure you’re in the first camp and not the second, with a mobile overhaul.

Responsive web design for esipfed.org on the Drupal platform.

A responsive site I designed for esipfed.org

 

Do I have to re-do my entire site?

Not necessarily. There are two kinds of sites out there which are mobile-friendly: Responsive sites and mobile-optimized sites. What’s the difference?

responsive sites

Change automatically as you drag the corner of the screen and make it bigger or smaller. They do this by using @media queries in stylesheets (basically an if-then statement: if the user’s screen is smaller than # pixels, show this version of the site). Responsive themes are great for supporting all types of screens, from smart phones to tablets to big desktops.

mobile-sites

Are a different version of the same content- they are laid out differently and often only trigger on a very-very small phone screen. They are the ones that often have the “Want to view the desktop version?” link at the bottom.

Finally, there are the not-mobile friendly sites. You know the ones- when you look at it on a smaller screen, stuff gets cut off, and on an iPhone you better be ready to pinch and drag all over the place to make the text readable.

So, which kind of site do you have?

Play around with your website on different devices, and on your computer, drag the bottom-right corner around to see what happens- does it scale gracefully or just get cropped?

There’s nothing to be ashamed of if your site isn’t mobile-optimized yet. It probably means you have been around for a long time, which is fabulous! But, even the best site needs regular maintenance and care to keep it up to date. It’s even more important now with Google penalizing sites which are not mobile-friendly by ranking them lower in mobile search results.

Okay, I want to reach my mobile users better! How do we do it?

Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Sometimes you can hire a professional to modify your existing theme to make it responsive (using those media queries we talked about before), and sometimes it’s best to just change themes altogether and use one which was made to be mobile-friendly from the start. If you are on a budget and neither of those is an option, you can download a plugin to help make a mobile-version of your site fairly quickly, though this will only help your phone users and might leave tablets out in the cold.

mobile and desktop designI hope this has been a helpful bit of background into your new and improved mobile site. I’d love the chance to help your transformation. When you’re ready to get serious about reaching your mobile users drop me a line- we can together make a plan of attack that reaches all of your users without breaking the bank. Your first 30 minutes of consultation are free!