Is your law firm’s online content accessible to mobile-only users? It should be. An increasing number of people access the Internet through their mobile device, preferring the private access inherent in using their personal smartphone. Given that law firms often deal with very private matters, it’s important that your firm’s website is accessible to these users.
“One of the most persistent misconceptions about mobile devices is that it’s OK if they offer only a paltry subset of the content available on the desktop [website],” Karen McGrane wrote in an HBR Blog Network article. “If you’re trying to reach specific audiences, you can’t afford to ignore mobile-only users.”
According to Pew Research, 55 percent of Americans planned to use a mobile device to access the Internet in 2012; 31 percent of whom said it’s their primary way of going online. Further data found that 45 percent of young adults aged 19 to 29 use a mobile device as the primary way to access the Internet, with online giants such as Amazon, Wikipedia and Facebook reporting that 20 percent of their traffic is from mobile-only users.
McGrane writes that “mobile-only users aren’t some strange new breed of customer … they’re just your customer,” so firms need to make sure they provide a mobile-only interface that is more than a link to their desktop website.
“Asking mobile-only users to pinch and zoom their way through a website designed for a monitor five times larger is an ergonomic nightmare—and a cop-out,” McGrane writes. “We can do better for these users than tiny fonts, untappable links, and broken hover states.”
Over on the TemplateMonster Blog, Alex Flow offers the following six tips to create a mobile version of your website:
- Layout. “Put all of the most important information you want mobile users to see on the top of the page,” he writes. And “minimize left-to-right navigation, which is difficult on a phone.”
- Coding. He recommends using either XML or XHTML, though you can use very basic HTML and CSS coding. Just keep it simple and maximize optimization through carefully crafted keywords.
- Images. Mobile devices can take a long time to load images, therefore only use a few and in lightweight formats such as JPG, GIF or PNG. Also note that users can choose to browse sites with images turned off, so always use alt text.
- Page Size. The maximum mobile page size is 20 Kb, so keep the page sizes small and simple. It’s also a good idea to set your screen size as variable, letting the mobile device scale the page size and resolution according to its screen size.
- Page Links. Since most mobile phones don’t have back buttons, “a good mobile website design provides back buttons and links” that help users avoid dead ends, Flow writes. He also suggests adding invite-to-call links on mobile phone sites.
“You don’t get to decide which device your customer uses to access the Internet. They get to choose,” McGrane concludes. “It’s your responsibility to … deliver a good experience to them—whatever device they choose to use.”