The Beachside at Nantucket Mobile Responsive Home page on iPhone 6

The Beachside at Nantucket Mobile Responsive Home page on iPhone 6

Just about every single client has asked us in the past year (some more than once):
“How do I make sure my website is mobile?”

Of course, this question leads to a long, somewhat over techie description in which I throw out terms like “mobile responsive” or “tablet ready.” So let me see if I can boil it down to what you need to know.

Everyone who owns a website understands that mobile demand is exploding. On average, more than 50% of site visitors are now accessing your site using a mobile device or tablet (iPhone, iPad Android, Kindle Fire, etc.) versus traditional desktop (PC, iMac, laptop, etc.). One of our clients, a columnist who has thousands of daily visitors to his site, is now only getting 43% of his traffic from desktop.

If your site is not yet responsive, it had better be soon.

One of the first things to take into consideration is the tradeoff between how your site appears on a traditional desktop versus how it will appear on mobile or tablet. Wrap your arms around the tradeoff and embrace it because your site is going to look slightly different across devices. Think more about general branding (logo, color scheme, general layout) and less about trying to over-engineer how your site will look on every single mobile device or tablet.

There are well over 50 mobile devices on the market, and it is too costly for small business owners to engineer for each one.

So, let go of your inner “control freak” and relax.

When we build a new responsive site, we now test all sites prior to launch. Since it is next to impossible (not to mention extremely costly) to buy and test a site on 40-50 mobile devices, we use developer tools called mobile emulators. These tools enable us to test a site on all devices and browsers that are currently considered qualified to display mobile responsive. During testing, we can even navigate the site as if we were using each actual device.

Of course, we also have on hand some of the most popular mobile devices (iPhone 3, 4 and 6, iPad, Kindle Fire, etc.) so we can also perform real world testing.

This month, we launched a client site and tested it on 43 mobile devices using a mobile emulator.
This process is fairly exhaustive, but of course necessary in building a responsive website.

Now, let’s briefly discuss Blackberry’s. There are generally only 3 Blackberry devices which can display mobile responsive well.

As of this writing, they are:

  • Blackberry Playbook
  • Blackberry Q/Z10
  • Blackberry Z30

If someone is unable to view your site well on Blackberry, don’t go in to a panic. Ask to know the model and built in browser used. As you might expect, many Blackberry devices are not well equipped to display mobile, especially on newer generation websites.

If you are interested in knowing more about going mobile, here is a good article on the topic:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/07/14/testing-and-responsive-web-design/
As you can see it is a very expensive undertaking.

Playa Cativo Costa Rica goes mobile. Client requested mobile responsiveness on their first generation website.

Playa Cativo Costa Rica goes mobile. Client requested mobile responsiveness on their first generation website.

Bottom line: Go Mobile

Be sure to cover the mobile responsive topic when you hire or talk to your web designer/developer, but be cautious about “dumbing down” your site to work on older or little used devices. It’s isn’t worth the investment.

If your site works just fine on the vast majority of mobile & tablets, I would not recommend re-engineering it to accommodate 1 specific device. Your Google Analytics report will tell you exactly what devices are used to view your site.

We have been building mobile responsive sites for years now, and would be happy to discuss going mobile. Feel free to contact us! If you have any questions about mobile responsive websites, or would like to discuss making your site mobile responsive, please Contact Us.