You must be willing to tap the smartphone users with your website. That is appreciable and wise a move as we all should be tapping this market which is to overtake the desktop market by 2016. With every third visitor to the internet is a mobile user, your site should be ready to greet them. However, there are some common features which we often forget to take care of, while creating a mobile-friendly website. Here we are covering some of those important issues.
Unplayable Video Format
There are some video formats which are not playable on the smartphone due to a few issues. The device might be incapable due to licensing constraint or it might be lacking a software. That is why Google recommends HTML5 format for integrating video on your site, instead of other proprietary formats, such as the Flash. HTML5 is free and well supported by almost every modern browser.
Whatever solution you are employing to integrate the videos, you should make sure that the smartphone owners are able to enjoy their visit to your site as much as a desktop viewer. Keeping the transcript of the video nearby will also help the smartphone owners greatly.
There are some sites which have differently designed pages, especially for the smartphones, and tend to route the smartphone visitors to that page. But while redirecting, we should be careful that we are redirecting him to the exact equivalent page of the desktop page which he is initially trying to access.
Some common mistakes in this case are
• The desktop site redirects the smartphone visitor to the home page of the smartphone optimised version site, irrespective of the desktop page the user is trying to access, even if the smartphone version site has an exactly equivalent page.
• Desktop URLs are often dynamic in nature and even the content is the same. Think of the URL of an e-commerce website after a search has been made. Now, the desktop site need to understand this dynamic URL and redirect the user to the same page for smartphones, instead of sending him to smartphone website’s homepage or to a page which is completely irrelevant, for example, the product search page. This redirection can not be achieved by hard redirection and need to be handled carefully.
• Redirection should be for every mobile device and not only for a few selected ones. For example, your site might be redirecting Android users but not the iPhone or Windows phone users.
Page Doesn’t Exist For Smartphones
In some cases, the desktop site behaves fine and show the content to the user while the same URL returns a 404 error (Page Not Find) to the smartphone visitor. There are a few ways to go around that problem.
• If you can detect that the desktop page which the user is trying to access, have an equivalent smartphone version, redirect the user to that page instead of showing permanent 404 or soft 404. Make sure that the smartphone equivalent page is not showing an error itself.
• If there is no smartphone friendly version of the desktop page, show the desktop page itself, instead of showing a 404 error page. Showing whatever content you can is much better than showing nothing but an error page.
App Download Offers
Many website owners would love to promote their apps to the visitors, especially the smartphone visitors and there is nothing wrong with that. There are a few ways of getting this done but some of them can cause page indexing problem especially for the smartphone optimised version. Any other element, which is not allowing the user to surf the site comfortably is not a good idea either.
After considering a few ideas, the best one is, using a simple banner which can promote your app by aligning itself with other elements on the page. This banner can be integrated easily.
• The browser and the OS support the banner by using Smart App Banners for Safari on iOS6.
• A simple HTML image can do the trick as well, if used like a small advertisement. It can link to the app store where the app can be downloaded and installed.
When you have multiple version of the same website, like having a smartphone optimised one and a desktop oriented one, cross linking should be done so the users can have the best experience. However, a common mistake is to cross-link wrongly, like sending the smartphone user to the home page of the smartphone site from an inner page of the desktop version. When this type of cross-linking are done, make sure that they point to the equivalent pages.
Page Speed Issue
As the smartphone internet connection might not be as fast or steady as the desktop version, page load speed is also an issue. The pages should load faster when accessed from a smartphone. To ensure that
• Make sure the page rendering time is less than one second.
• Keep the mobile web as fast as you can.
• Don’t forget to optimise the site for the smartphone users.
• Use Google’s Pagespeed Insight to check the page loading issue of your site.
With these issues taken care of, there is hardly anything which can stop you and your website from effectively catering to the smartphone users. If there is any more clarification which you would like to know, let us know in the comments section. We would love to help you as much as we can.