4 Characteristics of a Mobile-Friendly Website (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 17, 2022 | Published April 5, 2021

Updated August 17, 2022

Published April 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

For many businesses, investing time and money into creating an online presence can increase each organization's success and ability to reach customers in a target demographic. One way to build an online presence involves creating a website that's functional, contains educational information, makes the sales process easy and visually represents your brand. Having a mobile-friendly website allows you to connect with customers no matter which device they're using to access the website.

In this article, we explain what mobile-friendly means, describe the characteristics of a mobile-friendly website and share tips you can use to improve the compatibility of your website on mobile devices.

What does mobile-friendly mean?

Mobile-friendly means your website's visitors can use your website via their mobile device with ease and barring any significant changes from the desktop version of your website. A mobile-friendly website refers to a smaller version of your site that displays accurately on a mobile device and functions easily for the mobile user. Having a mobile-friendly website continues to gain importance as more users access the internet through their mobile phones versus desktops, laptops or even tablets.

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4 characteristics of mobile-friendly websites

It's important for a website to be mobile-friendly so visitors can readily access information. Explore this list of four attributes of a mobile-friendly website so you can build a webpage that enhances your online presence:

1. Readability

A mobile-friendly website makes it easy for a visitor to read without having to pinch and zoom on the screen to access information. Ensure that visitors and users can easily view, click and access digital content to maintain site traffic and reduce your bounce rate. Improved readability for viewers can work to increase effectiveness and engagement on the mobile site.

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2. Usability

A usable website experience means that all visitors can navigate the website in the way they intend and that they can do so quickly. Usability provides a pleasurable experience that entices a customer to stay on your website longer, which can lead to more sales or a stronger ranking on search engine results pages. Usability also helps secure a customer's loyalty during their website visit. Your website reflects your company, so ensuring usability and accessible design can improve your brand reputation and sales.

Related: What Is Usability?

3. Speed

The speed of your mobile site can affect your engagement and mobile traffic. A mobile-friendly website can support the needs of the website visitor, which often means that pages load quickly and users can navigate the website fast to find what they need. Many search engines also prioritize websites in the search results if the webpage has a faster load speed because these search engines understand the importance of providing a great user experience.

Consider that most users are visiting websites on their mobile devices because it's a faster alternative to performing the same action on a desktop computer or because they're not sitting at a desk when browsing the internet. If a website is speedy, this can assist the mobile user with accessing the information they need without delays.

4. Easy ability to navigate

A mobile-friendly website also makes it easy for the user to navigate the various pages within the website to find content. Because of this, many mobile-friendly websites include a "hamburger menu," which is three stacked lines that indicate a menu of page choices. Having a menu readily available to users can help them find the different pages your website offers so they can decide how they want to interact with your online space. Also, ensure simple navigation for pages such as search bars, advertisements, comment sections, footers and contact pages that include contact forms or a map.

Related: What Is Website Navigation? Definition, Importance and Tips for Improvement

Tips for improving mobile compatibility

If you're ready to build a mobile-friendly website, follow these tips for a successful webpage:

Use readable font

Mobile screens offer less screen space than computers and other devices, and although users use them a lot, a website owner can still account for font size when developing web pages. Consider a 16-point font, but you may adjust the font sizing as the size of mobile phone screens gets bigger. Ensure your font and displays offer a readable but reasonable size for the viewer.

Give plenty of room between clickable elements

Because a website visitor uses their fingers versus an external mouse to click on various items within your website, be sure to give space between these elements so there's less of a chance that the user will click on an unintended element by accident. For example, a restaurant that puts the two clickable buttons for "contact us" and "order online" too close together can cause the user to click on an option they didn't intend to click.

Build your mobile site in a single-column layout

Many desktop versions of websites use a two-column layout, which includes one column for the majority of the content and another for sidebar advertisements, search fields and additional menu options. The mobile version of a website best serves visitors when it has all content within a single column. This eliminates the need for the user to pinch and zoom to see everything they want and makes it easier for them to scroll through the website using one hand, as is common with many mobile users.

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Optimize all images

Images allow you to connect with the website visitor and offer a visually appealing element for them as they navigate your website. It's important to optimize these images for a better user experience. Properly placing and linking images for optimization can increase your content and navigation for the mobile site. Optimized images appeal to a website visitor and can ensure a faster loading time for the mobile site.

Related: What Is a GUI (Graphical User Interface)? Definition, Elements and Benefits

Simplify touch points

The bounce rate, or how quickly users enter and exit your website, often appears higher for mobile users, especially when your page lacks speed or navigability. Therefore, it's important to simplify the process of certain touch points to accommodate mobile users and make it easier for them to accomplish certain tasks. For example, you may make a call to action larger, give users a click-to-call option, offer a buy now experience or highlight contact information. Think about what customers want from your website, or use website analytics to discover this information, and prominently display this material on your homepage.

Avoid pop-ups

You may currently display a pop-up to ask visitors to sign up for your newsletter or to offer a special promotion, but pop-ups can inhibit a user's experience. Consider if you can deactivate pop-ups for mobile users without significantly altering your sales or site objective. If your current pop-ups help you secure sales or make a large difference in how many people sign up for your email list and you want to keep pop-ups, just ensure that it's easy for mobile users to opt-out or exit the display.

Perform mobile testing

Continue to test your mobile-friendly website to make sure it meets current best practices in website design. Navigate your website on various mobile devices that use different screen sizes and operating systems to make sure visitors with any phone can use your website the same and have a similar experience. You can also request for employees to perform this test and provide feedback or ask loyal customers if they'd take part in a test. New perspectives on your website can provide you with additional insight that you and your team may have missed.

Related: FAQ: What Is the Purpose of Usability Testing?

Allow users to access the desktop version

Some visitors may prefer to access a desktop version of your site for more in-depth reading or purchases. Providing the ability for visitors to switch to the desktop version of your website ensures they can view your website the way they want. Many times, a mobile site includes a "view desktop version" link at the bottom of the page that users can click to switch their display.

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