Every parish needs a polished, engaging website these days — that’s a given. The challenge, however, is knowing how well your website works on both desktop browsers and mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets account for more than half of users’ Internet usage and time, with usage peaking during the early morning hours of 7-10 a.m. and early evening to prime hours of 5 p.m.- midnight. That’s a lot of time spent looking at smaller screens, so how can you be sure your website is optimized for mobile use?
A responsive website design is important to make your website mobile-friendly. With the way your website is designed, it should look and function similarly when viewed on a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone.
Here are three tips to consider for a responsive website:
- Mobile users rely on their fingers to navigate websites, rather than a mouse. Features that tend to work well on desktop devices (like dropdown menus) may or may not work well on tablets or smartphones.
- Don’t use Flash. Hardly any phones support it, which means your website will basically cease to function on those devices.
- Make sure your website functions the same way on mobile. Anything that can be done on a computer — watching Mass, filling in forms, or making donations — must function the same way on a mobile device.
Google has a mobile-friendly test page, where you can enter your church’s URL and it will show you how your website functions on a smartphone, whether it is mobile-friendly, and offers links to resources to help you improve your design.
How can you make your website easy to use on mobile?
- Pick the best place for key information. For parishes this means Mass times, confessions, contact information, address and phone number, bulletins, or anything else a visitor would want to know should be front and center.
- Prioritize mobile design over desktop browser design. If it looks good on a phone, it will look good on a desktop.
- Make any buttons larger. Forcing mobile visitors to tap small buttons to access information will inevitably frustrate them, and they may leave your page to go elsewhere.
- Make sure your font works on your screen. Pick an easy-to-read font, and make sure it’s large enough to be seen clearly on a smaller screen.
- Large images or files can slow your website to a crawl, so make sure you compress them.
It’s also important to consider what users will do if you don’t make your website mobile-friendly.
- 91% of users want fast websites that allow them to easily navigate to the information they need.
- Half of the population expects a mobile website to load in less than 3 seconds. In 2018, it took the average mobile website 15 seconds to load. 61% will move on if they can’t find what they need quickly on a mobile site.
- 50% will use a site less often if it isn’t optimized for mobile.
- Since 2015, Google has included mobile-friendliness in the way it ranks websites in online searches. A mobile-friendly website is more likely to be higher in the results.
How have you changed your website for mobile devices? Let us know!