Strategy advice for designing and building a mobile-friendly site

Over at ClickZ we’ve published a very handy mobile design article by digital consultant and ClickZ writer Andy Favell, entitled six strategy questions to address before you design and build a mobile-friendly site (or app).

We thought it was so terribly handy, that we’re going to excerpt it here for you now on SEW. For the full guide, click on the link above.

A mobile-friendly site (or app) is not an end; it is a means to that end. To avoid failure, disappointment and embarrassment, companies must set clear business objectives, do the due diligence on who, what, when, where, why and how. This is the first part in a ClickZ series looking at the DNA of a successful mobile-friendly website.

Smartphones outsell PCs four to one (IDC, March 2015), but it has taken many years for mobile/smartphone web use to rival desktop use.

One barrier to growth of mobile web is the fact that bloated PC websites do not work well on a mobile device. The search engines want to change this.

Both Bing and Google have introduced mobile-friendly badges to show people which sites will render well on a mobile device.

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And in an April change to its search algorithm, dubbed “Mobilegeddon”,  Google now demotes web sites that fail its mobile-friendly tests, when people conduct a search on a mobile device.

Why does this matter?

If your site is as dependent as most websites are on search engines to deliver traffic, and/or if there is a likelihood that potential customers are likely to search for/access your site when they are not sat in front of a PC, e.g. when commuting, shopping, on the sofa or engaging with your billboard, print or TV campaign, then your site needs to be mobile-friendly.

The DNA of a successful mobile web strategy

The steps outlined in this article will help you get your priorities right.

1. Who should own and manage the project?

Ultimately the project should be owned by a single member of the board or senior management of the company. Ideally this is someone unaffiliated with any of the various fiefdoms that will fight for control of the project, shirk responsibility and/or argue over who else should pay.

The project should be led by someone, preferably internal to the company, with suitable stature and authority to enable them to make decisions, without needing to get time-wasting approvals from each stakeholder (marketing, sales etc.) at every stage.

2. What are the objectives? Are they realistic? Are they measurable?

Different stakeholders are likely to have different objectives. Once the objectives are agreed, then ask how mobile technologies can help to deliver on these objectives. Never lose sight of these objectives. Put them on the wall.

3. Who is the audience? Who, what, when, where, why and how?

Will the site service existing customers or potential customers? How old are they? How rich are they? Where do they live? Where will they be when they use the site? How do they find the site – search? What device are they using? How do they behave on the site?

Answering these kinds of questions will help you build user profiles of your typical or target mobile visitor. It is very useful (for everyone in the business) to create personas representing each category of typical customer.

All of these above points are expanded on in greater detail in the full article, as well as further steps for a successful mobile web strategy.

Related reading

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