If you don’t cater to the needs of mobile users, someone else will.
by Dillon Carter
Every business, organization, and even the lone, single freelancer or entrepreneur has an identity. A reputation is the feeling that people get when they think about a company, the way they perceive the company. And that can go well beyond what the company produces. It is why Coca-Cola is more than pop but is also polar bears’ winters. It is how Nike is more than just a maker of athletic gear for athletes but also the company anyone can go to for self-betterment and to “just do it.” It is how Apple Inc. is not just a maker of computers, or even electronics, but also one of innovative products.
Whether or not you believe any of these identities to be true, they are part of the public cognizance and these companies have worked very hard to make it seem that way. However, all those examples are focused on the physical or analogue identity and while that identity is still important, these companies adapted to the age of the Internet and the birth of a new identity–the digital identity. With this relatively new age, new companies have formed with that identity as their main focus, and these identities have already entered the public conscious. A few organizations that come to mind include Amazon, Facebook and Google. Amazon: the easy one-stop-shop to buy literally almost anything online. Facebook: the top name for all things in social interaction and the latest happenings. Google: the key compass to anything on the Internet itself.
These companies, their identities and digital identities of organizations and businesses are becoming more and more important as the Internet invades almost every part of our daily lives; and mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are at the head of that invasion. This may be no surprise. Whether or not you have a smartphone or tablet, you certainly have seen countless mobile devices out there. And yes, all of those devices can access an establishment’s traditional website meant for pixel wide mouse pointers, but their experience on it will most likely not be a very good one. This can cause a hit to more than a company’s digital identity.
In 2012, Google did a study on mobile users’ browsing habits and especially their reactions to interacting with non-mobile-friendly sites. What they found was that mobile users were very thankful to those establishments that took the time to pay attention to their needs. As many as 67 percent of users were more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site, while 74 percent said they would also return to a mobile-friendly site in the future. However, they were not very forgiving to those who ignored them. More than 79 percent said that if they didn’t like what they found (because the site was not mobile friendly) they would quickly go back and search for another site. This gives evidence to the argument that non-mobile sites not only frustrate mobile customers, but also make them quickly go to the competition.
The statistic that may slip under the reader’s radar but what may be the most telling is that 52 percent of mobile users said that if they had a bad mobile experience they were less likely to engage with the company. That engagement is not only with the company’s website or its digital identity, but also with it as a whole. This shows the power of a company’s digital identity. Lacking in something as seemingly insignificant as having a mobile-friendly website can make more than half a company’s potential customer base think of it not as the “king of summer,” or the makers of products that are key to making their customers better, or even as innovators, but as out of date and out of touch.
Dillon Carter is senior designer at 9magnets LLC.