The Mobile Shift

As personal computing has gotten exponentially more powerful, there has been a major paradigm shift to mobile computing. In fact, as Jason pointed out in a previous article, current trends show mobile usage will top desktop usage by 2014. This is an incredibly fast shift that will go hand-in-hand with major culture changes much like personal computing did in the 1980s. We don’t think about it very much, but most of us are now carrying around very powerful computers in our pockets – Today’s smart phones are more than 1,000 times more powerful than the Apollo Guidance Computer that landed us on the moon. And they’re still getting faster.

So what’s next? Current research and trends show that many new opportunities in wearable computing, augmented-reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to expedite this shift, but one thing’s for sure – We are going mobile. Although desktops will continue to have their place for many years to come as workstations, the vast majority of people will still be using their tablets and smart phones on the go. It’s important to not be overwhelmed by all of this, as there are actually many benefits of designing for mobile.

The Benefits

One of the more obvious benefits of mobile is that customers can call you from the very same device they found you on with just a simple button. It cuts out steps in the contact process. At Cardinal, we design all of our mobile sites with this in mind, making it as easy as possible to contact your company for people on-the-go.

Since your Smartphone is also a GPS, many mobile sites are now taking advantage of that functionality to give localized information i.e. directions to the closest Express Oil Service Station – All on the same device.

Coupons are becoming more popular on smart phones, as they can be scanned right from the phone. This is great for businesses trying to reach new customers and keep their loyal ones.

There are increasingly easy ways to make payments with your phone – Great for your e-commerce store.

Plus so much more!

One of Cardinal’s recent designs. Note the clear, uncluttered, call-to-actions for dialing and GPS directions – In a single action!

Streamlining Content

One advantage of mobile sites can be a much more streamlined user experience that ensures users go where you’d like them to go. The vast majority of users will be looking for either contact info or one small piece of information that pertains to them. This is even more true with on-the-go mobile searches. That being said, it’s ideal in mobile site design to streamline the content and cut-out frivolous information that does not help with SEO or pertain to your customers.

At Cardinal we use best practice methods to analyze what pages users are going to and spending the most time on in both static and mobile searches. We then consolidate this information in a mobile site design that is very much like an app – Simple, intuitive, and user-friendly, with streamlined pages that really inform customers. If users are still looking for something very specific they can always hop on a laptop or desktop and view the non-mobile site, but there is no reason to overload them with information.

Comparing the desktop versions and mobile version of a website. Note how it is an opportunity to not only cut down on extraneous information, but also possibly provide a better user experience than the desktop version offers!

The Social Shift

Now another paradigm shift is happening side by side with the mobile revolution and that is the social networks. Facebook, Twitter, and the plethora of other platforms are connecting people like never before, and most of this is being done on smart phones. In fact an amazing 91% of mobile internet use is to socialize in one form or another. This has some major implications for your business.

By integrating social into your mobile site, users can simply touch a button to access your already optimized-for-mobile Facebook or Twitter page, where they can view customer feedback along with fresh content and promotions. They can also “like” or “follow” you and this helps build your brand. In today’s age of abundance branding is more important than ever. What makes you better than the business down the street? Maybe you treat your loyal customers and prospective customers like they are people, not wallets.

The Return on Investment

Still not convinced yet? Maybe this will. Consider that if you do not have a mobile site yet many potential customers are going to your site and leaving immediately due to difficulties in even reaching your contact information. Slow loading times, excessive content, and having to scroll around the page frustrates users in an age where people have very little patience. Statistics are showing roughly half of all searches are now mobile, so you could be losing as many as half of your potential customers, and that number is only going to increase.

By providing a pleasant and intuitive user experience instead, you are getting a heads-up on your competitors and ensuring that you are not losing significant business. Cardinal is now offering discounted mobile site design paired with web design, as it is quickly becoming just as important, and the best results will come from them being designed together.