Stop asking whether you need a mobile-optimized site. You do, and there are multiple reasons why. Here are just a few of them.
- There’s the Mobile Mind Shift, which Forrester Research says is characterized by the fact that people “expect that any information or service they desire be available to them on any device, in context, at their moment of need.”
- There’s the fact that it’s a multiscreen world, according to Google research. People are switching among devices to access information, and smartphones are taking over as the devices that keep people connected.
- Some retailers saw tablet and smartphone web access double this year compared with 2012, according to the June 2013 Smart Insights mobile marketing update.
- The latest stats from Pew Internet show that 56% of American adults own a smartphone and 34% have a tablet—if you don’t cater to them, you’re losing a huge number of potential customers.
- By the end of this year, says Cisco, there will be more mobile devices than people (the other stats are worth a look too).
There are even more mobile market stats if you want them, but all of this adds up to one stark truth—if you aren’t yet ready for mobile, it’s time to start now. We’ve rounded up the best recent tips we could find on design, apps, marketing, usability, search and SEO to help you do that.
One of the first questions to address is mobile design. If you’re not creating an app, you have a choice between responsive design or a mobile adapted design, but which one is right? Here are some perspectives to help with the choice.
1. What Is the Difference Between Responsive vs. Adaptive Web Design? – Tech Republic’s Ryan Boudreaux explains two of the main approaches to mobile design. Key takeaway: The users may get the same experience, but the delivery and backend coding requirements are different.
2. The Importance of Responsive Web Design for Small and Medium Businesses – on the Huffington Post, Don Dodds highlights three key benefits of responsive web design. Key takeaway: Use responsive design or risk losing your audience.
3. The top 25 responsive design tools – Brad Frost gives you a picklist of resources for responsive design. Key takeaway: Responsive web design is still evolving so expect to see more tools as it develops.
4. Why responsive email design is more important than ever – on The Next Web, Abhimanyu Ghoshal explains that 47% of emails are opened on mobile devices and gives a primer for mobile email optimization. Key takeaway: Go mobile first for email design but don’t forget to optimize the site you want people to land on.
5. The Next Generation of Responsive Web Design: RESS – Neil Taplow explains how combining responsive web design and server side technology could provide a better mobile experience. Key takeaway: RESS is the future because it cuts mobile load times and allows device-specific calls to action.
Should your business have an app instead of (or in addition to) a mobile optimized website? It’s a hung jury.
6. Designing for Mobile: Responsive Design vs. Mobilized Sites vs. Mobile App – IT World’s Daniel Dern compares the three main options for mobile design. Key takeaway: The choice depends on goals, budget, coding skills and more, though it’s likely that more and more sites will start out being responsive.
7. Why Mobile Apps Make Sense For Your Business – Jaime Soulati says your business needs an app and shares tips for mobile app development. Key takeaway: Mobile apps make sense for business, but you have to invest in developing them properly.
8. Does Your Small Business Need a Mobile App to Stay Competitive? – Christopher Null discusses the high cost of mobile app development. Key takeaway: It’s important to research and establish the need for an app before diving in.
9. Does Your Business Need an App? – On the Australia Business Review, K’Lee Banks says apps are useful promotional tools for business. Key takeaway: Check out the 15 possible uses of apps listed near the end of the article.
What are the implications of mobile for marketing? That’s where this next batch of resources can help.
10. If you are going to develop a mobile app, you need to see whether it represents value for money, says Mashable’s Lauren Drell in 9 Mobile App KPIs to Know. Key takeaway: Identify the bits of data that matter to your business and track those.
11. On AdWeek, David Tainton discusses the integration of ads into responsive designs in Responsive Websites Are Great for Users, but How Are the Ad Dollars Being Affected? Key takeaway: Responsive design should also help ad revenue.
12. The question of which type of mobile design to use may be a business one, says Siteworx in Marketers Favor Adaptive Web for Branding, Responsive for Commerce. Key takeaway: Consider integrating both types of design, but be warned: the learning curve is steeper.
13. KISSMetrics has a useful infographic outlining how email marketing must adapt to the mobile world: Email Marketing is Changing – The Rise of Mobile and Triggered Emails. Key takeaway: Poor email formatting will make mobile users delete and unsubscribe.
Usability is a key issue for web users and is equally important for those using mobile devices. Here are some issues to think about.
14. EMA’s Rob Rayfield looks at Important Usability Considerations in Mobile Design. These include understanding the context of mobile browsing and the types of interactions that take place. Key takeaway: Making things simple for users is the wave of the future; we should start now.
15. On Forbes, Accenture’s Aidan Quilligan compares apps and HTML5 to help mobile interface developers avoid costly mistakes and the wrong choices in HTML5 Vs. Native Mobile Apps: Myths and Misconceptions. Key takeaway: Hybrid apps may be a good compromise, but focus on using the technology that’s within your capability now to start delivering what users want.
16. Ian Andrew of Moveable Online discusses the need to pay attention to gestures in mobile UX in Gesture Conflicts: When Swiping Ruins the Usability of your Website. Key takeaway: Concentrate on gestures being useful, not quirky, to keep people on your site.
17. On Smashing Magazine, Christian Holst looks at the importance of scannable, simply designed home pages, minimizing sub-pages and dropdowns, catering for privacy concerns and more in Exploring Ten Fundamental Aspects Of M-Commerce Usability. Key takeaway: While doing mobile e-commerce well can be expensive, it’s a key market differentiator which businesses should jump on now.
Mobile Search and SEO
As we mentioned, more people are searching for information on mobile devices. What does this mean for mobile search engine optimization?
18. Search Engine Watch looks at how to bring together SEO and UX considerations to really rock the mobile audience in 3 Essentials for Great Mobile SEO. Key takeaway: It’s more important than ever to look at analytics data as the basis for your mobile strategy.
19. The stats are in, and Google’s mobile search revenue is up, while desktop search revenue has fallen, says Ginny Marvin on Search Engine Land: Google’s Mobile Search Revenue To Top 30 Percent, Desktop To Fall To 43 Percent By 2015 [Forecast]. Key takeaway: Google still leads in search, but it’s YouTube that is driving increased mobile search volumes.
20. Matthew Capata highlights some best practices for mobile SEO, pointing out that some of these are the same as for websites, in Everything a Marketer Needs to Know About Mobile Search. Key takeaway: Too many to count, but it’s a good primer for creating your mobile search strategy.
21. On Clickz, Jeremy Hull gazes into the crystal ball to find out What Does the Future of Mobile Search Marketing Look Like? He examines the importance of real-time intent and trackability as well as the challenges facing marketers. Key takeaway: Current search behavior will change, so pay attention to users’ search patterns to see what’s next in the mobile search space.
The Mobile Market in Context
The shift to mobile has inspired lots of discussion. Here are a few useful contextual pieces.
22. Transitioning to a Mobile Centric World – Bill Gurley examines the transition from desktop to mobile and reviews the implications for design, development, SEO and more. Key takeaway: Application developers will win big; those who fail to take a mobile-first approach will lose out.
23. Understanding The Shift In Search Behavior — Desktop To Mobile – Marc Purtell outlines key characteristics of the shift to mobile and looks at what it means for user behavior and search. Key takeaway: It’s not too late to beat the market in mobile optimization as there are many businesses that aren’t there yet.
These resources should help you make the most of your mobile optimization and marketing strategy. If you still need more, check out our previous roundup of the best mobile website resources.