Why should you optimize your website for mobile devices? There are five main reasons why web developers and designers should be tailoring their websites for mobile viewing.
- Mobile devices simply lack the processing power possessed by laptops and desktop PCs.
- Wireless cellular data networks lack the download capabilities of laptops and PCs.
- Cellular phones have limited viewing area compared to laptops and desktop PCs.
- Not all web applications are compatible with cellular devices.
- Far more users access the Internet than ever before.
Mobile Device Power
Although mobile devices have progressed immensely in the last few years, even the most powerful cell phones possess the processing capabilities of desktop computers that were common 5 – 10 years ago. For example, the new Tegra 2 processors from NVIDIA boast a whopping 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Many popular smartphones pair similar processing power with 1 GB of RAM, leaving hope for increased mobile performance.
The catch is, that although mobile device capabilities are increasing, so are the memory hogging and process intensive Internet applications and web browsers. What this means, is that for every updated included in smart phones, there is an equivalent update for laptop and desktop PCs.
As for download capabilities, most wireless providers now offer 4G data speeds, allowing users to download web content at nearly 100 Mbit/s. The problem with cellular data networks is that a user’s download speed is directly affected by their signal strength, the number of users in the area, and radio interference. Actually, a user would need to be isolated adjacent to their own personal cellular tower to achieve these speeds.
Cell Phone Screen Size
Who wants to scroll left and right? Studies show that users are more likely to be willing to scroll up and down that left to right. Therefore, users will prefer websites that provide an easily view-able area that prevents them from needing to scroll side to side. Most websites optimized for desktop viewing may use tables or explicit widths that prevent an optimal user experience.
Apple iOS does not yet support Adobe Flash. Enough said.
Mobile Internet Popularity
More users are on their cell phones that ever before. With the uprising of social networking and location-based searches, Internet addicts have taken their vices in their pockets. Mobile internet browsing has become so intense that simply the term “Google” has become synonymous with searching the web.
Internet function has progressed to the extent at which most people have the capability of paying their bills, buying electronics, and even applying for loans using only a cell phone. The ability of a website to provide eCommerce on a mobile device has even been considered a deciding factor for users when choosing between comparable services.