These days, people are accessing your website through any number of ways, including desktop computers, tablets, mobile phones and more. It’s not safe to assume they’re looking at a nice, large display of your website on a 15-inch laptop. In fact, according to Read Write Web mobile internet usage has doubled every year since 2009. Think about the differences in what a person can actually view on a screen when using any of those devices. A web page viewed on that 15-inch laptop with several paragraphs of decorative-font text and large photos mixed in is going to be a struggle to read when squished down and viewed on a 3.5-inch phone screen.
So what are some ways to simplify and optimize a website to provide the most value on a mobile device?
Streamline content and layout
The key to the mobile website is simplicity and usability. This is the time to pare down complicated layouts, graphics or any extras from your desktop website and make the mobile version extremely easy to use for folks on the go.
Simplified navigation is essential for the mobile version of your website. The website should have clearly-marked, larger buttons or links to the essential locations within the website. Don’t make users zoom in repeatedly just to be able to click on the correct link. If you have a lot of information to present within a linked section, create sub-sections with simple, large links to that extra info. Don’t try to fit the content all on one page. Also, be sure to include a clearly-marked path back to the previous information or the homepage, or make sure the site will work with the browser’s built-in back button.
Once the user clicks through to those sections, think about the most essential information the user will need from your website — they won’t need all the fluff and long descriptions. They’ll want to see clear, concise info. If you have a website detailing all of the information about your properties, you’ll want pricing, amenities, community information and other essentials presented in easy-to-read lists.
If pages on your desktop website have lots of photos arranged within the page, consider compiling those photos into a single section or slideshow with a clear way to navigate, perhaps by swiping or clicking large arrow buttons.
Redirecting users to your mobile URL
After you go through the process of streamlining your desktop website for mobile devices, you’ll want to ensure visitors can actually get there! Have your web developer set up a redirect rule for your main URL. This way, if a user types in that URL (e.g. www.apartments.com) on their mobile browser or clicks on it from a search engine, they’ll be redirected to the URL of your mobile site (e.g. m.apartments.com), ensuring they’re getting the appropriate site experience.
Do you have a mobile website for your property management company? What aspects of your desktop site did you not include?