One of the questions we frequently get asked is how to make an existing website or web application look good on a mobile phone or tablet. “Is it possible to take what we have and just make it smaller,” they ask?
It is a great question because more and more people are opting to use their phone for research on the internet rather than their computer.
Mobile-Friendly Short Answer
Yes. It is possible to adjust your existing website so that it renders the same on a website as a mobile device. Assuming your website technology isn’t ancient, and assuming your application code lends itself to being modified, developers can take what you have and with some adjustments, allow it to render as a smaller version on a mobile screen.
That may be exactly what you wanted to hear, but before you make the choice to go down that route, it’s good to understand if that is the right choice for your situation.
The Long Answer
Although it is possible to shrink your existing website, doing so may not make your mobile users very happy. Your best approach for a mobile-friendly website really depends on what your website looks like today, the technology underneath, and what your visitors want to do when they visit you on their mobile device.
If you have a simple design with minimal content, meaning limited text and pictures, modifying your website so it shrinks down gracefully may be the ticket. On the other hand, if your website has a lot of text and pictures, a large menu, or if users have to fill out long forms on a single screen, then some mobile-friendly redesign may be in order. It all goes back to figuring out and giving a mobile user what they want.
You know your website and users best. What do you think your mobile user wants?
Do they want to be educated, solve a problem, sign up for something you offer, or buy from you while on their mobile device? How easy are these things for them today on a monitor? If you shrink down what you have, could they still easily find what they are looking for and complete the task?
Or would they need to zoom in and zoom out to navigate your site? Is there a lot of unnecessary content like pictures, ads, or text they would have to work around? Does the site load quickly or slowly on a mobile device?
Ideally, you want to provide your mobile users with a focused experience where they can go straight to what they are looking for with minimal effort. They might be at a traffic light or standing in line at Chipotle. In either case, their window of time is limited.
If your existing website can meet their needs just by more elegantly rendering itself well on a smaller screen that is your answer. If not, and the experience of your mobile user is important to your business, consider having some or all of your website screens re-designed to meet their on-the-go needs.
The Checklist For Sharing Your Software Vision
Before you get started in developing your software app, your thoughts and ideas should be clarified and written down so they can be consistently and easily shared and understood. To help you get started on the right foot, we have created a checklist.
You can grab a copy of that checklist below and share it with your team!