In the old days just a short two or so years ago, marketers and creatives didn't need to worry about their websites being mobile-friendly. Not that it wouldn't be helpful to have a mobile-friendly site, but there was a low percentage of site visitors accessing websites with their smartphones.
At the end of 2014, comScore reported that 66.8% of all mobile subscribers had a smartphones. It also reported combined mobile web and applications account for 60% of time users consume digital media, leaving just 40% for desktop viewing. We've reached the mobile tipping point where mobile has overtaken desktop. Smartphones are becoming the computer of choice.
This makes mobile-friendly a key of today's website design.
There are many items to consider when developing your site, but these are elements that can dramatically help with the mobile viewer's experience.
1. Responsive or a Separate Mobile Site
Some may say "you need a responsive site so it'll work on a smartphone." I have a different take on that: I think you need to determine the best experience for your users first. What do they need to access? Directions? Product information? Menu? Order placement? What's the best way to present this information? Once you understand this, you can then determine what type of mobile site is best.
Responsive Sites are created so the elements of the site stack upon themselves. This means as you make the website window smaller, the graphic elements will shrink and the navigation and text elements will arrange into a one column format (see the Time example below). These sites can determine where they are being viewed and adjust for desktop, tablet and smartphone. Plus they adjust as you enlarge or reduce your browser window on a desktop.
Separate Mobile Sites are designed to be completely unique from the desktop site. They show the same information but in a different format and react very differently (see the Mission BBQ example below). Most separate mobile sites will also have a link to view the full site. They are basically two completely different sites designed to fit the screen being used.
Patrick Fultz is the President/CCO of DM Creative Group, a creative marketing firm producing work across all media. He’s an art-side creative, marketing strategist, designer and lover of all things type. His credentials include a degree from Parsons School of Design with 15 years of teaching at his alma mater, over 40 industry creative awards, and he previously served as President of the John Caples International Awards. Always an innovator, Fultz was credited with creating the first 4-color variable data direct mail piece ever produced. He continues to look for innovative ways to tap the powerful synergy of direct mail, the web, digital and social media.