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Why websites should be ‘responsive’ to client needs

Jon Pittham, MD of ClientsFirst, examines the real figures behind mobile-ready websites and their impact on your brand

I’ll start this article with some statistics that might interest you:

●          For every 1,000 prospective clients who visit a non mobile-ready website, you convert 50 fewer to clients than you would if you had a mobile-ready website.

●          Nearly half of respondents to a Google survey said that a non mobile-ready site made them feel as though the company in question didn’t care about its brand.

●          More than half of the respondents to the same survey said that they were unlikely to engage with the company in the future.

●          As far back as October 2012, desktop Google searches have been declining in number. Mobile searches continue to rise.

The simple truth behind the statistics above is that mobile and tablet web-browsing are on the increase. We all use mobile devices for accessing internet-based functionality on a daily basis now; whether it is emails on the train or a tweet whilst watching the football.

What does this mean for your website? As the above reactions show, being forced to navigate a non-mobile ready website on a mobile device is cumbersome. Users don’t like it and they respond in the true language of the internet generation: if it doesn’t work fully it must be broken. They click away from non-mobile ready sites quickly, sometimes before they have found the information they need and don’t return unless it is absolutely necessary.

Perhaps even more worryingly for firms is the fact that users consider non-mobile ready websites reflect poorly on the brand concerned. I have talked often recently about the fact that your website is a reflection of you, your firm and your service. Clients make value judgements all the time (don’t we all). An old, poorly functioning, poorly designed website, in the potential client’s eyes, says that your firm may operate similarly. It might seem shallow but it’s the same the world over. Take cars, for example. You probably wouldn’t feel comfortable turning up to collect a client in a 1993 Ford Fiesta. It’s the same with your website.

The mobile functionality, or otherwise, of your website is an extension of how you are perceived online. The figures above reflect the fact that a non-mobile ready website has a negative effect on many potential clients, clearly something firms would rather avoid.

Responsive solution

The solution to the mobile conundrum does not need to be complicated. Where once it would have taken a great deal of work to create a mobile equivalent of your website, now many firms will take an approach known as responsive. On a responsive website, the site automatically adjusts to the size of the screen viewing it. Icons move to more logical positions, different sorts of mobile-friendly menus appear and images adjust to appropriate sizes. All of the design elements for your desktop site remain: they just become mobile-friendly.

There are other approaches available but responsive works because it uses everything your current site has and simply presents it in a more appropriate way for mobile users, correcting all of the problems they might have had with your non-mobile ready website.

As we move to a point where mobile internet traffic may one day overtake desktop traffic (we’re already nearly there with email views), it’s worth asking your web developer about the mobile component of your site when you next decide to develop it.

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