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How to make your website mobile-friendly

An increasing number of people have smart phones these days. Furthermore, according to mobiThinking, half a billion people accessed the mobile web worldwide in 2009. Within five years, usage is expected to double.

Although it’s possible to view regular websites on mobile devices, creating a mobile version of your website is recommended to ensure that it’s viewable on a wide range of devices and that it loads more quickly. In order to be mobile-friendly, your website must be HTML, not Flash. Additionally, it must fit the size of a smart phone screen.

Easy Navigation

The desktop version of your website probably features several links in the footer, header, and sidebar, but offering mobile users so many options isn’t recommended because they have such short attention spans. Only include links to the most important pages of your website, and make sure that the navigation bar is located at the top of your site, so visitors don’t have to scroll down to access content. Typing on a mobile device is difficult, so the idea is to make it easy for mobile users to find the most important content on your site.

Use fewer images and graphics

Graphics and images are a must in web content, but on the mobile web, you should limit your use of them because they will make your website load more slowly on mobile devices. When you do use graphics and images, resize them, so they take less time to load and so that users don’t have to zoom in to see them. Furthermore, make sure they’re in .JPEG, .PNG, or .GIF format because those formats are lightweight.

Use automatic mobile device detection

Telling users that you have a mobile website and then getting them to visit the mobile version of your site can be a hassle. You can make it so that your website automatically detects mobile devices and triggers the mobile version of your site. One way to do this is through User Agent detection, which is when a server makes a decision about which website version to display based on the capabilities of the browser that the visitor is using.

Cut down content

Since most people who use the mobile web are on the go, consider cutting down your content into digestible chunks and providing links to the full articles for anyone who wants to read them in their entirety.

Use a mobile emulator

Use a mobile emulator to determine what your website will look like on different mobile browsers. Some helpful tools include the Blackberry Web Development Page, which gives you access to Blackberry simulators, and the Android SDK, which shows you what your website will look like on Android devices.

Put your Contact Information in a Prominent Place

Many mobile users look for a business’s contact information, so make sure that your business’s phone number and address are displayed on a prominent part of your website. If you have a local business, including a map of your business’s location and directions that explain how to get there is recommended because it will make it easier for customers to find you.

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