If you're the owner of a website choc-full of fantastic content, you might be scratching your head wondering how on earth you're going to fit all that lovely abundant content in to a site that works on devices with screens as small as 4". But wait, before you give up and resign your users to pinching, poking and blundering their way around your site on their phones (or simply giving up altogether) I have some good news to tell you: taking your content-heavy site mobile doesn't have to be a headache. By taking on board a few easily applicable concepts and ideas you can take your content mobile in a way that your users will love.
The first thing to do for any mobile site is to set some goals. Think about what you want the site to achieve - if you run a shop an obvious primary goal would be for the mobile site to be a place to sell directly to the customer. Non-retail businesses might not be able to sell directly to clients, but they can showcase their services in a way that appeals to clients, generates leads and results in eventual direct sales.
Remember that 1 goal is not enough for a website - identify secondary goals to make sure your website works for your business in more ways than 1.
Preparation is key when trying to squeeze content into a mobile-sized site, and it's often the difference between a well thought-out, intuitive mobile site, and a site that is a confusing mess.
Top of the list of priorities is casting a critical eye over the content on your existing website and making sure that it's all necessary and expressed as succinctly as possible. If your existing site is bloated and full of poorly-written content then now is the time to take to it with a sharp knife and be rid of all the clutter.
Also don't forget to think about how the structure and form of the site can be organized to achieve your goals. If you're selling products, it's no use having them tucked away on the last page where customers will have trouble finding them. Your user should be able to get to the information they want as quickly and painlessly as possible.
You may not realise it, but the content of the copywriting on your site matters. Not only that, but how it's written is hugely important too. Something as simple as changing one word can increase conversion rates by over 20%2 on your mobile site. If your mobile site's copywriting is not up to scratch, there are a few steps you can take to clean things up:
- Bold type and bullet points make content easier to digest. Use them.
- Chop down long paragraphs - people bounce away when confronted with too much text.
- Keep it readable - choose a clear and distinct font and font size and bear in mind screen sizes!
- Include lots of verbs as they make more effective copy than adjectives.
- Use pictures. It might seem antithetical, but if you can use a picture instead of writing on your site then do it! They're much more pleasing to users' eyes and minds.
Following on from the last point:
A picture is a quick and efficient way of presenting information and evoking emotion. Because of size restrictions efficiency of space is super important on mobile, and making use of pictures is a fantastic way of making the most of what space you have.
Image sliders scroll through a number of selected images on a continual loop. By placing one of these near the top of your homepage and combining it with an attention-demanding title and description, you can create an unforgettable first-impression and a lasting snapshot of exactly what your business is about.
Galleries are also an invaluable tool for giving the customer greater detail about your company and it's products or services, but hopefully the top of your homepage will already have them sold so you don't need to always place them in prime space the site. Of course if you have products to sell then include pictures and make sure they are of high quality - their is nothing more off-putting for a customer than a blurry product photo.
Information, much like food, is best digested in smaller chunks. This is especially true on mobile devices where screen-space is limited and users can easily feel overloaded when presented with poorly organized information. To get around this many designers employ a concept called progressive disclosure, which is a convoluted name for what is a simple concept: sequencing information over several screens so that the user doesn't feel overloaded. Primarily this is done by splitting content across multiple pages and providing the user with a button they can press to view a menu and select which content they'd like to view. The key here is to make the homepage of your site as attractive and useful to the user as possible, so that they can't resist finding out even more. If you try to put too much content and information on only one page you will end up creating barriers for user engagement and they'll abandon your site halfway through because of its user unfriendliness.
Converting a content-heavy desktop to mobile needn't be a daunting task. With a little bit of thought you can employ some of the above-mentioned tactics and end up with a super sleek, streamlined site in no time. No matter you're particular vision for a site, make sure that you have the user as the main priority. If it doesn't work for the user, then it doesn't work for you either. If you keep that in mind you'll be successfully mobile in no-time.