Websites designed for desktop browsing are increasingly utilizing oversized elements like large headers, generous graphic features, full screen images and big, bold fonts. This is a design trend that many law firms have embraced successfully. However, while desktop monitors are getting larger, a growing portion of the population is viewing your website on smaller mobile devices like smart phones and tablets.
Having a website that is accessible to mobile users is becoming a necessity for firms that don’t want to miss out on a growing segment of potential clients. Mobile browser usage will only continue to grow as people become accustomed to the convenience of being connected anywhere at any time. And Internet users are no longer using mobile devices only when they are away from home. A recent report released by Viacom shows that over 90 percent of tablet users say their tablet is their primary method of accessing the web, even when they are sitting in their own living rooms.
Is your law firm website meeting the needs of mobile users? Here are some tips you can follow to help make sure your mobile website working for you.
Understand how mobile visitors will use your website. Mobile users expect a different experience than desktop users. They often have limited amounts of time and are usually looking for specific pieces of important information, like a quick way to contact you or directions to your office. Understanding the needs of mobile users will help your firm develop a mobile site that is more responsive, helpful and effective.
Create mobile specific navigation. Mobile websites tend to have high bounce rates. That is, users generally reach the site, look at one page and leave. Creating a navigation structure that gives users quick, easy access to the most frequently visited areas of your site will help bring that bounce rate down. Simplify top and side navigation into one vertical menu. Tuck vertical navigation into expanding sections that are intuitively grouped. Make links obvious. Text links are best on mobile platforms and can be coupled with targeted colors and icons to make them pop.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. Then Simplify More. Mobile websites must focus on usability and eliminate clutter. Distill pages down the most necessary content and use white space to reduce distraction. Get rid of excessive links and limit user data entry. Designing for mobile users is a little like going back to the future. Scrap the big visuals and fancy scripts in favor of a shorter, text-centric layout.
Be consistent with your firm’s brand. Your mobile website needs to be a helpfully simplified version of your full website, not an entirely different design altogether. Keep colors, fonts and icons consistent. Take advantage of your mobile site’s ability to reinforce your law firm’s message at all user touch points.
Give users the option to switch to your non-mobile site. In the interest of creating a more streamlined and more simple mobile website, you will have to make decisions about what information is displayed prominently and what may be left out entirely. However good your editorial judgment, there may be some parts of your full site that users still want to see.
Developing a good mobile website can be tricky. Mobile platforms and standards are still young relatively speaking and will continue to evolve. But sticking to some mobile website best practices now will help your firm grow its reach into the future.
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