Improve conversion rates now by optimising your website for mobile

Thursday, 01 December 2011

Here at Zeta we’re pleased to see more and more of our clients optimising their websites for mobile and tabletdevices.

In fact our clients are a pretty switched on bunch, so it’s no surprise that the Zeta team has been receiving a steady stream of requests for mobile versions of their websites. It’s been proven that conversion rates are much higher on the iPad than on desktops (source: econsultancy) so brands are really missing a trick if they overlook app development as part of their marketing strategy.

We’re looking forward to developing more apps in the future as more and more clients tap into the power of mobile – probably because it’s actually tons better for business than standard desktop internet. Just imagine your company being carried around by your customers 24/7 and you’ll get the picture! Here at Zeta it’s our job to grow your business online, so I’m excited to be blogging about my insight into how mobile technology is set to change the shape of the web in the future. That’s right – the next digital revolution will come from our pockets.


Think about how many different mobile devices your friends and family own. If you did a survey I expect about a quarter of them are surgically attached to their iPhones; maybe roughly half of them are Android-aholics; a few business types might use Windows phones; several more swear by Symbian and then I bet there’s also one or two counting down the days until the contracts are up on their Blackberrys. Now imagine you want to design an app that all of your friends can use on their various devices – that’s going to be a hell of a lot of work, as you will effectively have to create a bespoke website for each OS – oh and you’ll also have to pay separately for each variation.

I’m giving it two years until mobile technology has changed the way that websites are built.

As a wise blogger once said; innovation necessarily precedes standardization- in other words, it’s time to wake up to the fact that we may have let technology run away with itself. Now the time has come to take stock of the situation and work towards a solution that will keep everything ticking over nicely. That solution is called responsive design.

Time to get responsive: the future is (quite literally) in our hands

For me personally it has been clear for years: we’ve got to create websites that work seamlessly on all devices. We must work towards a simple way to bring businesses’ products and services into the hands of their customers with minimum cost and fuss.

The idea behind responsive design is to create websites for mobile first, which will give us the power to create a user experience that flows seamlessly into each device. Why mobile first? Because growing a design is easier than shrinking it.

There are lots of examples of how companies are using trial and error when it comes to mobile. For example, if you browse the Financial Times website from an iPad or an iPhone you will be asked if you’d like to view their website the app way. If you agree, your experience will be optimised: the website will not only be smooth but it will also make full use of your device’s capabilities, giving browsing that extra bit of sparkle. But the problem with the FT approach is that it only works on Apple devices, and the app view excludes some blocks of content, which isn’t ideal. The reason the FT has done it this way is largely due to a dispute with Apple over ownership of customer data. Anyway, if you took a look at their website from an Apple device, you’ll start to get the idea.

The Boston Globe is in my opinion a much better example of responsive design in action. The Globe’s site really improves the user’s experience: it works on every platform and uses different style sheets for the various window sizes, giving the user the same content regardless of the device. Nicely done!

Responsive vs traditional: why it’s worth the investment

A responsive approach to the design of a website will necessarily take longer and cost more for the initial build than a traditional “desktop only” website, but in the long run will be massively cheaper than creating a different app for every platform (even if it’s only for Android and Apple). And because it’s just one website it’ll be much easier to maintain and grow. Now is definitely the time to optimise your website for mobile devices – using a responsive web design approach is the smart way to do this. In the current economic climate, it makes a whole lot more sense to build a one-size-fits-all solution rather than creating different apps for different devices.

We’ve responded

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that here at Zeta we’re already starting work on responsive design projects for our clients. The new cross-platform Electropages site will go live in the new year, and is set to be a shining example of responsive design at its finest!

Why don’t you?

Zeta can help you make sense of mobile and work out the best solution to meet the specific needs of your business. We’ve got bags of experience and our team would be delighted to talk you through the options without obligation. Why not drop us a line and see how we can improve your conversion rates?