3 Mistakes Businesses Make When Designing a Mobile Website

Joe Davine

7/30/2013 3:35 PM

Performance Mobile Design Opinion

Developing a mobile optimised web experience has now become standard practice across the web. However a poorly implemented mobile website will not only cause your Google search rank to suffer, but also reduce conversion and sales.

Before deciding on which mobile solution is right for your website, consider the following 3 mistakes that businesess make when designing their mobile web experience:

1. Not fully understanding your mobile audience

This sounds like an obvious design stage, however a lot of businesses do not accurately know what devices are browsing and using their website. Using tools such as Google analytics are not fully accurate as many mobile browsers (such as Opera) do not support the javascript needed to run it. This causes many feature phones and other older devices to not be accounted for.

Using Microsoft's isMobileDevice property is also a common way to understand how much of your audience is browsing using a mobile device. However, this solution is also not completely accurate due to being heavily outdated.

Using a comprehensive, current and regularly maintained solution to detect mobile devices and their capabilities is vital when trying to understand your website's mobile audience.

2. Not testing mobile performance during development

With over 40% of mobile visitors leaving your website if it doesn't load within 3 seconds, optimising for mobile performance has never been more important. With this in mind, many developers do not take into account their websites performance on mobile devices and instead concentrate on the aesthetic design.

To stop this problem, developers can implement testing processes to make sure they are monitoring their page weight and elements loaded, in order to minimise data transfer to mobile users.

3. Not listening to your mobile user requirements

So you now have an accurate understanding of the amount of mobile users that are browsing your website. Well, we most certainly do not want to leave it at that. So, what next?

Arguably the best mobile solution is whichever one that most closely matches the needs of your mobile users. Breaking down your web audience into mobile/not mobile isn't enough and you need to look closer at their device needs.

If 40% of your mobile users are using QWERTY keyboard feature phones, then you do not want to force them to navigate around a lavish, image-heavy smartphone optimised mobile site. Same goes for the opposite; lightweight, all-text feature phone mobile sites are probably not going to be appropriate for your Wi-Fi consuming Tablet users.


Whichever mobile web solution you choose to use, make sure you have an accurate understanding of the devices that are browsing your website. With better intelligence comes better user experiences and a greater conversion rate.