OM: 3 Tips For A 'Smartphone-Friendly' Web Design

3 Tips For A 'Smartphone-Friendly' Web Design

By Tim Snyder, Vice President Of Marketing, OPEN MINDS  November 29, 2012


Developed by OPEN MINDS, 163 York Street, Gettysburg PA 17325,   All rights reserved.


What devices are Americans using to access web content? Their laptops? iPads? Droids? iPhones?

The era of the laptop may be on the wane as 46.1% of consumers now have a smartphone (up 39.7% since 2011) and consumers who own some type of tablet more than doubled this year, from 10.5% to 22.4% (see this piece in USA Today, Smartphones to play bigger role in shopping). In the very near future, more web browsing will take place on mobile devices (and we're already seeing the eclipse of the desktop computer, see Smartphones, More Popular Than Computers all members).

The challenge is summed up on The Department of Health and Human Services digital strategy website - "We have to meet [consumers] 'anywhere, at anytime, using any device' (see Moving Toward One Web: Mobile and Responsive Design). My question - is your website ready?

As you create strategies for future development of your website, there are three tactics that I use every day in our work at OPEN MINDS to prepare websites for delivering smartphone-friendly content:

  • Make your website "scannable" - By "scannable" I mean consumers need to be able to scan the page quickly with their eyes, and find what they without scrolling. The basic equation is that all the most important items on a site should be in the first screen. If you make consumers scroll to find the content they want chances are they either won't find it, or will find it on another provider's site. The importance of this is multiplied when consumers are using smartphones.
  • Design for fingers, not a mouse - Using a mouse to navigate a website allows your design to be more precise. But on a smartphone, website designs need to take into account the inherent inaccuracy of navigating with fingertips. This calls for a larger site design (fonts, buttons, lists) that accommodates for the smaller site delivery on a smartphone.
  • Make important items bigger - The same small site delivery that can make navigation a challenge on smartphones also means that some items may get missed, even if they are at the top of the site. If it's important, make the effort to make that item stand out.

The "bring your own device" phenomenon, of which smartphones are a part, is here to stay – and there are many more devices on the way (see Are You (& Your Tech Managers) Ready For BYOD? all members and Any Professional, Any Program, Any Device, Anywhere all members). Planning ahead with you website design will make sure that you don't miss important stakeholders.

As we talked about in previous articles (see Technology is Raising Consumer Expectations all members), technology has brought upon a new era of consumer preference. Versatility and adaptability are more important than ever for competitive advantage. Those unable to conveniently deliver information across multiple channels - including the most convenient platform to their target consumers - will inevitably lose sales to competitors that can. Today's consumer expects everything at their fingertips... and what is most at their fingertips now is a smartphone.

If you have any question about optimization yorur web site for smartphone use, email me at