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Go mobile! Check your web site on an iPad and mobile phone. See the future!

Have you looked at your web site on a mobile phone and iPad (or similar device)?

Crystalball You are looking at the future! Your images are like superheros working 24 hours a day, traveling at the speed of light.  And now they are going mobile. 

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How does your website  look on a display the size of a RITZ cracker? Could some small changes to your images or your web site improve how it looks for mobile viewers?

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Why do I even ask this question?  Recently I got a new 3G Android phone.  I can now surf the Internet anywhere, any time.  It is fun and convenient to have mobile Internet access. Yet it still astounds me that many people are using their phones every minute of the day. Looking up a word, an idea, a picture, or a fact.

StuckINtraffic Last month I was stuck in traffic for over an hour....stopped, completely stopped.  I had the chance to look around at all the other people in their cars.  What was everyone doing? They were playing with their phones. Ironically, so many people were on their phones, web traffic was also slowed down to a "crawl" (pun intended).

It won't be long before the whole world has "smart" phones, iPads, or other electronic devices all connected to the Internet.  And they will be looking at everything including your web site if you plan now.

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So . . . how does your web site look on these smaller electronic devices?  Consider checking your web site on your phone AND your friends' phones, and your sister's iPad...that's assuming you don't own all these devices yourself.

Even more basic, does your web site function on these mobile devices? Start now to consider adaptations for your web site to work well with these devices. Here are a couple of non-technical options for better mobile performance:

Postage stamp Your amazing photos with strong graphic and uncluttered backgrounds are good for easy viewing. Think great postage stamp!

Take FLASH off your web site. It doesn't work on most mobile devices.  This may be fixed in the future, but is it worth loosing your potential buyer now?

Turn off the music on your site. It slows down the viewer's experience to a crawl.  Or, this may embarrass someone taking a sneak peak on their phone. 

Simplicity is important for mobile web layout. It goes without saying that the more information piled into a small space, the harder it becomes to read and the more scrolling that will be required. With such limited space to display web site content, a single vertical column layout would be ideal.

Horizontal copy Websites should avoid  horizontal scrolling. This is a recommendation by web site gurus for all web sites, but the problem is even more acute on mobile devices. It seems that some mobile devices can't make a horizontal scroll on a web site evident, thus your viewers may miss your web content. 

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Images on my website work like button for navigation.

Navigation can be optimized for mobile viewing (without reinventing your web site).  Don't assume that everyone can just zoom in . . . because some can't. Consider larger easy-to-press links or click-able images to streamline the experience. 

Images on my web site work really well as "buttons" to other pages.

Text Links with multiple words are easier to tap with your finger.

Shorter URLs are easier to type in a search box.

Downloadspeed.png Speed for page downloading is once again an issue. It is kind of like the old days with dial up Internet connections (if you are old enough to remember the early days of Internet with 56k modems). Keep you images compressed and small enough to download quickly.

For now — at least until mobile network infrastructure improves and mobile connectivity becomes more pervasive — simple, low tech changes to your web site can improve your mobile viewers' experiences without costing you a penny.

Harriete

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