Why your website needs to be mobile friendly

Does your website work and look good on any device?

With  more and more website traffic coming from mobile devices, you could be losing visitors and potential sales if your website doesn’t automatically adjust to fit tablets, phones and a variety of screen sizes.

For such an important topic we asked Drive member Philip Saich of Postscript Communications to answer questions from Drive members

Would you like to be “the expert” in our weekly Q&A sessions? Get in touch if you’ve got expertise to share! 

Philip is the MD of Postscript, a dynamic marketing and communications agency offering fully integrated digital and print services including website design and development, graphic design, email marketing, video, search engine optimisation, social media management, content creation, marketing strategy and branding.

Philip says: “We’re a team of four: myself, Matt (studio manager), Chris (web developer) and Eloise (graphic designer). Our skills base enables us to offer the full range of marketing services, from branding and photography through to responsive web development and SEO.

This is a compilation of the live Q&A in the Ask the Expert hour in the Drive Facebook Group.

Check your website

To check whether your website is mobile friendly, simply compare the desktop view with the appearance on your mobile. Failing that, there’s always the Google mobile friendly test: https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly

Dedicated mobile sites vs Responsive sites

Dedicated mobile sites are those that are created specifically for use on mobile devices, usually as an additional site to a desktop version.
Responsive websites are those that are created as a desktop site that adjusts to fit any mobile device.

Sam Taylor  Responsive vs. mobile site, which do you think is best?

Philip Saich In our view,  mobile sites are more relevant for large e-commerce shops. Any type of business can have a responsive site and this removes the need to update two separate sites.

Ann Hawkins One of the questions I’ve been asked is, if you’re not selling stuff from your site, why do you need it to be mobile friendly?

Philip Saich We believe it’s really important to consider your audience and their viewing habits – as mentioned above, more and more people are using the web on the go, so having a mobile friendly site can only improve their experience.

Sam Taylor should all new websites be made mobile friendly?

Philip Saich We believe that all new websites should be responsive/mobile friendly as stats showed in October 2016 that more than 50% of browsing was done on the move.

As far as good practice is concerned, we’d encourage everyone to take mobile seriously as the audience will only continue to grow on mobile technology. In our view, brands that are perceived not to be on top of the latest online technology are in danger of losing ground against their competitors.

The SEO aspect is really important to consider, with Google having a dedicated mobile search. Sites that are not mobile friendly will therefore perform less well in searches.

A site we created recently for The Gin Trap Inn,  is showing only 27% of views on desktop, with the remainder on tablet and mobile. Their site is responsive, but if it were not, they’d be risking alienating three quarters of the visitors.

Converting existing sites

Sam Taylor Can any website be made mobile friendly?

Philip Saich We can make any existing site mobile friendly, but the real win is to design a desktop site that is also mobile friendly from the start.

Ann Hawkins There are lots of converter kits available for a small amount of money – setting aside your own business interests, are any of these any good 🙂

Philip Saich There are third-party solutions available, such as Duda Mobile, which can work, but as with anything off-the-shelf they have limitations. Most third-party solutions will add technology, such as Javascript, into the code. Some security suites will turn of Javascript without users knowing and if the third-party service is down or disappears, so does your mobile-friendly site…

Ann Hawkins WordPress has a plug in that seems to work well to make sites mobile friendly, are there any drawbacks with using these Philip?

Philip Saich These can effective, certainly, although there can be security implications with plugin architecture, especially with WordPress.

Ann Hawkins When you say you can make any site mobile friendly, what’s involved, time and cost wise?

Philip Saich That would really depend on the specific site – size, design, CMS, technology used. It may be necessary to make some modifications to the desktop design first. And in the worst case, it may be more cost-effective to start from scratch. Given that, it’s very difficult to talk time and cost without reviewing the site and discussing what the client wishes to achieve.

The future of websites

Ann Hawkins Can you see a time when websites will be designed for mobile only, or mobile as the main design with desktop as a secondary design?

Philip Saich This is the way it’s going, yes. It’s important not to forget that people are already browsing on wearables, which will only increase as the technology improves. We design for desktop but we already know how the site will look on mobile with regards to stacking and our clients trust us to carry all the features across from desktop to all devices in the best way. We don’t start from mobile and go to desktop unless it’s a mobile app.

Ann Hawkins Any big breakthroughs in technology around websites that we should know about Philip ?

Philip Saich One interesting aspect is a srcset tag that delivers the best-sized image for specific devices, which means faster load times and less bandwidth use for the website owner.

There’s also Accelerated Mobile Pages – a new Google project that aims to strip back functionality and improves readability by removing unnecessary features. A good example of this is the BBC mobile site, which is largely just images and text, and which therefore loads almost instantly.

You can contact Philip at Postscript Communications 
On Facebook  and Twitter @WeArePostscript

Ann Hawkins