Most people in New Zealand now use mobile phones and tablets to browse the web*. Combined with Google's decision to optimise search in favour of mobile friendly websites, it would seem that there is no doubt that a mobile optimised website is now essential. 

You can test whether your website has basic mobile friendly features here on Google.

While many websites work reasonably well on tablets, websites which use Flash or have fixed size elements can be frustratingly unusable on iPads and iPhones. In addition sites which load slowly because of un-optimised images or javascript will be abandoned by mobile users as they take to long to load.

Responsive Web Design is a way of making the web page look different on different sized screens - if you look at this page on a smart phone or tablet - the layout is different for each screen size, making the website usable and readable at each size.

User Experience is even more important for mobile websites, in fact according to Annie Sexton usability and page load speed are the  "two important facets that should drive your decision-making."

"1. Usability trumps aesthetic. When developing for mobile sites, because screen real estate is limited, it's important to focus on the ease of use over a pretty interface. It may not make sense to have every single navigation item visible on smaller screens. You'll need to prioritize the elements that are most vital and make them the most prominent and easy to find.

2. Make performance your numero uno goal. Despite how fast our mobile devices are these days, it's still important to build for slower connections. Let's not forget that "fast mobile devices" are limited by the networks to which they connect. 4G is restricted to modern countries in dense urban areas. Most of China is covered in 3G, and the same goes for India and many other developing nations all over the globe. Regardless of the connection, when users are on the go, laggy websites will be abandoned. Load time should be short and snappy."

Mobile friendly websites are not 'one size fits all' projects. For very complex websites, it can be useful to have a simplified template for smart phones.

Hybrid mobile apps can offer the best of both worlds, a downloadable app with native functionality on the iPhone and Android, and easily updated web pages showing within the app. A combination of an iPhone app with specially formatted webpages, the app takes advantage of functions on the iPhone, and accesses web pages to provide easily updated information in a format that works well on the phone. The web pages may be used by other mobile devices and standard browsers, or specific to mobile only.

If you just landed on this page, an introduction is in order. Phosphor is a mobile web development company based in Auckland. Find out more about Phosphor, or contact us for a meeting in person or via Skype.

Give us a call or fill in the contact form if you would like to look at how your website can be improved to work with smartphones.

*Mobile phone internet usage increased 104 percent from June 2016, to 6,453,000 gigabytes in June 2017. This is around 1,700 megabytes for each mobile phone connection, compared with 900 megabytes in June 2016. NZ Government Statistics