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How to Make Your Blog Suitable for Mobile Browsers

smart phoneEach month, more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to go online. Many websites, including Facebook, already derive the majority of their traffic from phones. While desktop computing is unlikely to disappear any time soon, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that your blog works correctly on smaller devices such as phones.

In the past, many websites decided to cater to mobile users by creating a mobile version of their website, with streamlined content that allowed it to load quicker on old data connections. With the arrival of 3G/4G and larger touchscreen phones, users have typically shunned these mobile versions on their phones in favor of the normal desktop version.

Mobile and desktop users behave differently when they go online. People on a desktop PC are more likely to stay on a website and aimlessly browse, while users on smartphones are more likely to be looking for some specific information or service. But aside from these behavioral differences, there are a number of other key factors to bear in mind.

The first of these is that the majority of smartphones today are touchscreen devices. The way in which users interact with these devices is drastically different to how they interact with desktop computers. Smartphones owners do not have a keyboard and mouse: their finger is their only means of interacting with your website.

The following are some things you need to consider to make your blog suitable for mobile browsers.

1. Visual Effects

If your website relies on navigational menus that involve hover-over effects, these will not only be displayed incorrectly on a touchscreen device, but users will not be able to navigate easily around your website either. If you have something valuable to offer them elsewhere on your site, these visitors may never find it.

Most tablets are only marginally smaller than the majority of desktop computer screens, but smartphones are significantly smaller. They can range anywhere from 2 inches to 5 inches, at which point the line between smartphone and tablet becomes blurry.

2. Small Buttons & Fonts

While your website may look just as you want it to on your computer, many design elements may be less visually appealing or usable on a smaller touchscreen phone. For example, using small buttons can make it very difficult for people visiting from a phone to navigate around your website.

Likewise, small text will not be readable on a smaller screen. Users can easily zoom in with pinch to zoom gestures, but zooming in typically requires them to scroll around a page to read its entire contents. Using a larger font can alleviate some of these problems for smartphone visitors.

Adverts on your blog’s sidebar may be completely overlooked if mobile visitors have zoomed in to read text. Including text adverts within your blog posts may be a more effective way of utilizing adverts on your blog than visual adverts contained within the sidebar.

3. Images

Following on from this, desktop users may be drawn to a piece of text that captures their attention and encourages them to read. But if this text is too small for smartphone visitors it is never going to attract their attention. Instead, users may be more captivated by visual cues such as post images.

It is always a good idea to include high quality images on your website as it is a much more user friendly experience than a text-only website. But including images is not enough. Images should be large and colourful and interesting enough to draw people into your content.

4. Adobe Flash

Apple’s iPhone has famously never supported Adobe Flash due to the late Steve Jobs’ dislike of the platform (or his inability to buy it, depending on how cynical you are) but now newer versions of Google Android will not come with Flash support either. In fact, Flash is in such dire straits that even Adobe can’t be bothered supporting it for smartphones anymore.

While you may think that using Flash on a website can allow you to add some nice visual effects, these will be completely absent for any visitor coming from a smartphone.

If some of your website’s core functionality is contained within Flash menus your website will be completely unusable for the majority of smartphone visitors.

Conclusion

Most websites are still designed with desktop users in mind, while smartphones are generally not given much consideration. This is a big mistake given that an increasing percentage of internet traffic is coming from phones and that smartphone users are more likely to be looking for something they wish to spend money on, compared to desktop users who may simply be taking a leisurely browse around the web. To put your blog or website to full effect, you should give some consideration to visitors coming from smaller devices such as smartphones.

 

This is a guest post by Simon from Best Mobile Contracts, the UK’s favourite mobile phone comparison website.

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