People access the Internet while walking down a street; sitting in a mall; having dinner at a restaurant; drinking coffee at Starbucks; and travelling on city transit.
Mobile devices are the way at least half the world accesses the internet, so it has become critical for companies and organizations to not only have a website but to ensure it’s optimized for mobile. This is true whether you’re a company seeking consumer sales, a business trying to land clients, or an organization with a message for the public.
And mobile usage is projected to keep growing.
Research by eMarketer, a digital research firm, shows there are 30 million mobile phone users in Canada – 81.2 per cent of everyone who lives here. Further, the number of mobile phone users in Canada is expected to climb to 31.3 million by 2022, representing 81.7 per cent of the population.
The number of mobile phone Internet users in Canada is also rising. Another graphic by eMarketer shows that 26.3 million Canadians – 71.3 per cent of the population – access the internet via a mobile phone at least once per month. That is expected to climb to 28.3 million by 2022 (73.9 per cent of the population).
Companies and organizations have increasingly recognized the importance of having mobile friendly websites. U.S. B2B marketers whose websites are mobile friendly has jumped from 57 per cent in 2014 to 87 per cent in 2017. A January 2017 survey of U.S. small business owners/managers found that 79 per cent thought they had mobile friendly websites and 17 per cent thought they did not.
A website that is not mobile-friendly will lose customers, business and its overall audience.
Ian Mills, co-founder and CEO of Magicdust, an Australian web design and marketing company, suggests you ask yourself these questions when opening your website on mobile:
- Does it load in less than three seconds?
- Does it draw your eye to your key selling points or message?
- Is the content easy to read?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Is it easy to recognize and activate the call to action?
- Does it provide a good user experience?
- Is it a website you would spend time if it was not your own?
According to Google, some of the most common mistakes impacting the mobile experience include Google not being able to crawl site assets like CSS and images, unplayable or blocked content on mobile devices, screen overlays/interstitials, slow mobile pages, small font size, and buttons and links placed too close to each other.
Paul Nishikawa, co-founder and managing director of UX Guys, a digital experience consulting firm in Calgary, says some companies and organizations still don’t have a mobile-first approach that caters to what’s valuable to someone when they’re on their phone.
The company’s clients have included such corporate clients as ATB Financial, Telus and Encana although it is transitioning to smaller clients.
“Making something mobile-friendly is like having a chef make you a hot dog,” says Nishikawa. “There’s so much context around how you use your phone… If you don’t address the context, then you’re missing out on the opportunity. Your phone uses so much more context than just a web browser generally does.”
For many people, mobile devices are the only point of internet contact.
“It’s not even a trend. It’s reality,” says Nishikawa.