These days more and more people are access the web from devices such as tablets and mobile devices. Statistics I gathered from one of my websites has shown that of 26,214 visits to the site, 9,938 (37%) requests came from mobile devices, and another 2,022 came from tablet devices. Therefore, of all the visits to the site almost half (45%) of the traffic is now coming from mobile devices and browsers other than desktop. This is a huge change from only a couple of years back when 90%+ of requests would have come from desktop browsers. What is more, the trend seems to be still on an upward curve, so within a few more years desktop browsing will most certainly continue to drop.
“Almost half (45%) of website traffic is now coming from mobile devices…”
With a change of this nature it’s important that your website can be displayed on mobile web browsers. The simplest way to do this, and provide a consistent experience across multiple devices, is through a responsive design.
All responsive design really means is that elements of your website will re-organise themselves as the browser window gets smaller. This is achieved through aligning elements to float, just like an image that is aligned to the left of text within a word processor, the words will wrap and flow around the text. With a responsive design aspects of the user interface are organised into blocks that can resize and drop beneath one another as the website resizes.
Another approach is to create a totally separate website using adaptive design. This is generally a completely new interface, specifically built for mobile around the same content. When someone accesses your website from a mobile device they get redirected to the mobile website. Most websites do not require this as mobile browsers are now capable of practically everything that a desktop can do with the advent of html5 and css3.
So, what are you options? If you have an existing site that was developed previously it may be possible to upgrade to a responsive design without losing your content. If you use a platform such as wordpress, you could get a new theme developed for example. If your site is very old and you don’t have a CMS it may be more difficult, and now may be the time to make a move and upgrade.
If you are going for a bespoke design you could consider utilising a framework known as twitter bootstrap for example, or if using wordpress you could use one of their latest themes (2012 or 2013) as a starting point for developing your page.
The best advice is to keep it simple and clean, and allow high contrast text so that users can view your site in daylight. Allow menus expand and contract on mobile devices so that users can get to the main content quickly and easily.
UTD Web Design is currently building a platform to allow small businesses create simple responsive sites. If you are interested in finding out more contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to upgrade an old site, design a new site or if you require some independent advice with no obligations. please do contact me and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.