The importance of being mobile.

A picture of three mobile websites on iPhones.

A picture of three mobile websites on iPhones.

We’ve written before about the importance of strong mobile designs for hospitality websites. Over the past year, we’ve launched a number of responsive sites, including large-scale work for ANZ and Origin Energy. More recently, we’ve built and launched sites for some much smaller (but still fantastic) organisations that are very close to our hearts. Having had these sites online for some time now, we can tell you some of the things we’ve learned.

If you’re a destination, mobile is huge.

It may seem obvious, but for venues and personal services business, the number of unique visitors coming from mobiles is astronomical. For the Rainbow Hotel, more than 65% of their visits are from mobile. That makes sense – if you’re out having a drink then you want to know what’s on at the local pub. But even Blonde Tiger, a nail salon that operates mostly on a booking basis, receives more than 50% of its visitors from mobile.

Mobile has a higher proportion of initial visitors than it does total visitors

Let’s put that more simply – the first time people look at your business’ site, they’re probably on a phone. They may check it later from their desktop or laptop, but if you’re in the business of getting people on seats, you have to think mobile first. That means you need to deliver the full content of your website in a rich experience for small screens and devices. Everything you write for the site should be conceived with an understanding that your customers are probably going to view it on a small screen. For some types of information, that can be difficult, but the extra effort is worth it. For Feldman’s Bar in Fitzroy, we managed to design their menu so that it works well on a tiny iPhone screen, and for the Rainbow Hotel we built a responsive design that showcases their entire beer range in the same screen space. It just takes planning and care.

iPhones and iPads are absolutely dominating mobile.

If you ever travel on public transport you know this already. In Australia, iOS devices dominate the mobile market. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support other devices (hey, the web should work on every device) but it does tell you where to focus your energies right now. There are other devices, though, and you should be future-ready for them.

Responsive Design is your friend.

If web design isn’t your business, then you’ve probably never really heard of responsive design. But you’ve been on sites that use it (hint, you’re on one right now). You don’t need to know how it works, except that a well-designed responsive page will format itself to the best size and layout for the device you’re using without the requirement for multiple discrete sites to support different devices. Do it right, and the same pages appear differently, but just as good, on devices as disparate as an iMac and an iPhone.


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