My site looks great on a laptop, why do I need to worry about what it looks like on a mobile phone?

Like it or not, the future is here and it’s mobile. What percentage of your site views will come from mobile? (Likely more than half.) I was on a London Overground train recently and the carriage was full to standing.  I counted just two people who were not looking at their mobile phone. These weren’t teenagers possibly hunting for Pokemon, they were business folk on their way into work.

At last count there were over 1 billion websites.  So if all these people using their mobile phones have all these websites to choose from, what chance they are going to look at one that is in any way hard to navigate?

Some people are happy to turn their phone sideways in order to watch a video or play a game, but mostly people hold their phones upright and they scroll vertically.

Responsive – a good start, but is it enough?

Some designers advertise their sites as responsive, and some tools will say the same – so what does that mean?

In its most basic form it means that the screen display is automatically resized to match the size of screen that the viewer is using. This is normally of very limited use, because all it does it shrink things to a small and often unreadable size!

A more useful trick is for the screen layout to be re-arranged from horizontally aligned elements to vertically aligned ones. This ensures that someone using a mobile phone will get to see all the page content and will only have to scroll vertically to do so.

Whilst that is a great improvement on the basic form it doesn’t guarantee that your content will be presented to your customer in the order that you want them to see it.  Automated decisions by programs on how to rearrange horizontal content into vertical content will not necessarily match your preferences – and let’s face it, this is your website that is in competition with loads of other websites – and if you have potentially more than 50% of your customers accessing it via mobile, you need full control over exactly what they see and when they see it, don’t you think?

The other consideration is whether you want your mobile site to have the same content as your full website.  Your immediate reaction might be “of course”, but think again!  Sites on laptops look great with large pictures (a picture paints a thousand words and all that), but that is going to mean a lot of scrolling on a mobile to view some resized pictures that may not have the same impact. The same applies if you use pop-ups (words and pictures that appear at pre-determined times, such as ten seconds after a page starts being viewed, or once a user gets halfway down a page) – often these work less well or even have a negative effect when viewed on a mobile phone.

Have full control over which content appears on mobile and in which order

This is the preferred approach at Roman Britons Websites.  It means more work when building your site, but we think it’s worth it. We build your site and demo it to you on a laptop and then a mobile phone and then discuss with you what changes you would like to make. We then re-build the mobile version if required. We are able to offer this because we have invested in state of the art software that makes this much more feasible than standard tools where you would need, in effect, to create two separate sites with duplicated code, time, effort and cost.

This can mean going forward that you have two areas behind the scenes to update when you add new content (or we will if you choose our managed service) and we will point that out at the time so you can make a balanced decision about what differences you require between your full and mobile site.

The key point is that you have full and final control over your website, and that your options are not restricted by cheap tools that have limited capabilities.