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Phones which can browse the web have been around for a long time.

The first WAP enabled device came in the late 90’s (picture on the right) and the first full internet enabled mobile device came in 1999.  The rate at which internet enabled devices gained popularity grew far quicker than the adoption of mobile friendly websites.

Often sites were horrifically mangled or just didn't load at all, which of course defeats the purpose of having a device that can browse the internet!

Nowadays the buzzword in the world of website design is mobile-friendly.  Lets have a look at what this really means and how important it is to have your website functioning on a mobile device...

Mobile Browsing

World statistics on the usage of mobile browsers show that in a comparison of Jan 2012 and Jan 2013 that mobile usage has increased approximately 10% between mobile and tablet browsing.  As 10% of the world population equates to a lot of people it seems fairly obvious that web designers should be focusing on making sites which look great on all platforms.

Further to the general browsing statistics if you use social media to promote your business the Facebook statistics show that out of their 1.15 billion registered users a whopping 819 million use Facebook on a mobile device each month!

So how important is it to have a mobile friendly website?  The answer comes in two flavours: if you use social media channels the answer is "imperative".  If you aren't using social media the answer is "increasingly so".

What exactly is a mobile friendly website?

Generally speaking it’s a site which doesn't break when viewed on a mobile device in either portrait or landscape mode.  However, that is the barest minimum you can get away with!  For a true mobile friendly site you are looking at having the layout change and re-arrange itself so that the user doesn't have to zoom in or out to view the content, the navigation is easy and the main content is higher than the supplementary side columns (if you have side columns).

In times gone by the idea of making a mobile friendly site meant often that a second site had to be setup.  This obviously means that the cost of the designers quote increased which in turn lead to the client having to make an executive decision which history shows was to stick with the mainstream.  Also, it wasn't particular easy for designers and developers to make a seamless link between desktop browsers and mobiles, and so was often neglected in the quoting stage of a website anyway!

With today’s technology we can quickly and easily make a fully functional website once and have it display beautifully on both desktop and mobile devices.

Thus, there is no excuse for sloppiness – if your web designer can’t make a true mobile friendly site, get someone else!

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