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Mobile Friendly Means Similar–Not the Same–As Desktop

mobile friendly similar not same

Mobile devices are fast becoming the primary starting point for search. Whether mobile users are looking up information, researching a topic of interest or beginning the process of making a purchase, targeting these users is an increasingly important aspect of web marketing.

It is through a mobile device that many searchers will have their first experience with your website. Which tells us that making your site mobile-friendly should be a first thought rather than an afterthought.

Mobile First

Far too many web designers and developers continue to focus on desktop usability issues, giving just a cursory glance at the website’s mobile needs. And many of those that do create “mobile-friendly” websites are doing nothing more than mobile-patchwork rather than actually designing the site for a true mobile experience. This has to change.

And it is changing! You hear a lot about being “mobile first.” While some have taken this to an extreme, building sites that are great for mobile but suck at desktop, it is important that we no longer relegate mobile marketing and optimization to second-tier status. it must be made a priority in website development and optimization efforts.

Equal But Not the Same

Visitors must have as seamless of an experience on your site when on a mobile device as they do when on a desktop computer. Notice I didn’t say “the same experience.” Mobile sites and desktop sites are similar, but they are far from the same. What makes a good user experience on one is a bad user experience on another.

A couple of quick examples:

  • Navigation: Must be hidden for “on demand” viewing on a mobile device, while remaining visible on a desktop.
  • Content: Can be hidden on a mobile device making available by clicking section headers, but should be used with caution on a desktop.
  • Section Scrolling: Having certain portions of your content wrapped in scrolling boxes is fine on a desktop but this can be downright problematic for mobile devices where the section scroll can conflict with page scroll usability.

Failure to have a properly optimized mobile site affects all areas of website performance. Search engines will drive less traffic from mobile devices if the site isn’t optimized, and those that do find it will often become frustrated with the experience. As mobile becomes the first point of contact many visitors will have with your brand, you need to make sure you focus your marketing efforts on mobile just as much as desktop.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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