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January 21, 2011

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

3 Key Tips To Making A Mobile Website User-Friendly

Mobile websites are quickly making their way into the apartment industry in Canada.  In the last few months our company has received orders from most of our clients to develop mobile friendly versions of their websites.  They’re our hottest selling product and for good reason!

Renters are on the move and they’re increasingly using their mobile phones to visiting rental websites.  It’s been predicted that by 2014 mobile web-based searches will outnumber those of standard desktop computers, so there’s little doubt in my mind that landlords need to cater to mobile users.

So what about the current browsing experience of mobile users?  Well, if your company’s website is not optimized for mobile then your mobile visitors are probably having a poor user experience.

An un-optimized website will typically be shrunk by the mobile browser to fit onto the screen of the device.  This leads to difficulty in viewing and finding information. Navigation options are too small resulting in content that is hard to read and difficult to interact with; text display is awkward and zooming in and panning are often required. This results in a frustrating user experience for the renter.  You can solve all of these problems by creating a mobile friendly version of your website and re-directing mobile users to it. 

If you're company is serious about appealing to a mobile audience then you need to go mobile! 

So, here are three key tips on how you can design your mobile website to be user-friendly:

Save Mobile Users Time By Automatically Redirecting Them To The Mobile Friendly Version Of Your Website

Make sure that your core website automatically detects mobile users and then re-directs them to the mobile-friendly version of the site.  This ensures the best mobile browsing experience possible for your customers.  Using this strategy means that renters will locate the information that they need quickly and will not be distracted by having to remember a separate URL address or scouring your homepage for a mobile friendly link.

Give The User What They’re Looking For By Simplify Your Website’s Content

The one key thing to remember is that mobile phone browsing is not like that of a PC! 

Renters who are accessing information on a mobile device need it to be a quick and painless experience.  Remember that these people are on the go.  They’re pulled over in their car, sitting on a bus or the subway or sitting at a restaurant on their lunch break.  They’re accessing your website for a reason – to get quick information about your listings. 

They’re not going to read a novel and they don’t want to learn about every aspect of your business.  They simply want to access information about your apartments quickly and easily.  So, give them that information that they’re searching for in an easy to read format.

  • Use bullet points where ever possible
  • Keep paragraph writing to a minimum
  • Keep the navigation bars simple

Make Sure Your Website Works Across Multiple Types Of Devices

The biggest challenge for any designer when making a mobile-friendly website is making the site look good on every type of device there is out there. Mobile phones vary greatly in both their browser size and its behaviour. A website may look good and function correctly on one type of device but may not function the same way on another.  It’s for this reason that it’s important to test out the mobile site on as many types of devices as possible before it launches.

At Landlord Web Solutions we do everything possible to test out the site before launch.  Each of our staff members has a different type of mobile phone exactly for this reason. We test out the mobile site live on our blackberries, iPhones and android phones, trying to accommodate each browser’s unique abilities.

This is an important practice for anyone who’s trying to design the best user-friendly mobile website.