Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mobile Me

Sharon Wildwind
It must be summer because I’ve been to computer camp. I even got a T-shirt.

Here are some things I learned at camp about web sites and mobile devices.

60% of computer users in North America use a mobile device as their preferred source of Internet information. The days of designing web sites for the desktop computer are way behind us. Unfortunately, many of us designed our web site way back when desktop computers were the norm. Have you ever seen your web site on a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone?

There are programs on-line that allow you to do this, but you can also do a quick mobile check just by resizing your screen.
Go to your home page.
In the lower right side of your screen should be a resize tab.
Move that tab up and to the left until the screen is about the size of a laptop screen. Here’s what mine looks like. 

What my site looks like on a laptop.
It’s not that bad. My name is still there, most my photo, and that I’m a writer, etc. However, I’ve lost my contact information, which is at the lower left corner of the full screen.

Keep decreasing the screen size until it's about the size of an iPad or other tablet. Essential information is still there, but my photo is starting to disappear.

What my web site looks like on a tablet.
Finally, go all the way to mobile phone screen size. Here’s mine.
What my site looks like on a mobile phone.
Design Rule #1: Design for a mobile screen first.
Remember that mobile is used on the go. What is the first thing your user looks for on the mobile device? Design your mobile for that essential, information.

Two people are having coffee. One says, “Have you read [Insert your name here]?” The other woman says, “No,” and pulls out her mobile to look for you. What information does she need on her mobile screen?

Your name. How to reach you by Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

I’m not doing too badly, but the only contact information visible is my Google+ link. So I went into my web program and reorganized two items. I moved my Twitter information up on the screen, and I added sub-menus under the Books and Art headings. The mobile user can now click on one of those little white triangles and get a list of my books and the art pieces I’m currently showing.

My web site revised for a mobile phone.
 Fortunately my program allows me to make these changes very easily. If you have a similar program, think about rearranging the information on your home screen so that the essential information is in the upper left corner of your screen.

If someone helps you with your web site, ask them to check how your home screen looks in a mobile phone format and rearrange information so that essential contact information is in the upper left corner of the screen.

Down the road, when you’re ready for a site redesign, think about or have our computer guy or gal think about designing your screen in columns.
  • Essential (mobile) information should be in the far left top corner.
  • Most desired information is one column over: this will show up on tablets.
  • Desired information one colum over from that: this shows up on laptops.
  • Finally, your nice to have on the far right. Chances are this last column will show up only on full-screen desk computers or very large laptops.

Here are a couple of other tweaks you or your computer person might consider.

This first one comes with a warning: it’s the most techie two paragraphs in the blog.
Dump meta keywords and descriptions entirely. They are no longer used and if meta information hasn’t been changed in a long time, hackers think this is a vulnerable site they can take over.
Remove generator tag entirely. An unchanging generator tag alerts hackers to blogs that haven’t been posted to in a while.

I’ve managed to locate my meta keywords and delete them, but generator tags are a foreign country. Someone else is going to help me with that.

You can use customer descriptions as key words: for example if you would like to sell your book to book clubs, add mystery and book club to your key words. Don’t bother with a phrase such as mysteries for book clubs because for is not a good key word.

When posting photos, name your photos well because photo names become key search words. Suppose I’d taken a research trip to Ireland (Don’t I wish) and I’m posting photos of that trip.
  • Worst photo name I could use would be not to change what comes out of the camera, such as IMG0568
  • Slightly Better photo name Donegal Trip. At least Donegal would become a key search word. Trip is too generic to be a good key word.
  • Great photo name Sharon Wildwind-Donegal-Ireland, because all three are good key words.

In naming photos, use hyphens rather than underscores because the Google Search Engine reads these marks in different ways. If I’d named my imaginary photo Sharon_Wildwind_Donegal_Ireland the underscores may do strange things in Google.

If you’re not sure what size to use for a photo try resizing it to 585 pixels x 585 pixels if it’s a square photo and 585 pixels on the long side and 366 pixels on the short side if a rectangle. That’s an average base size that is likely to work on a lot of devices, including mobile phones.
Quote for the week

What is the best social media for us to be on? The one where everyone else is. This means we have to move as the crowd moves. This doesn’t mean that we abandon other programs, but we change our emphasis of where we spend the most time, energy, and financial resources.
~Chris Garrett, author and smart computer guy, 2013 May 25


Kath said...

Yeow! Head thunk! Great advice! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome, Kath. I've known for a long time I should take a look at my site on mobile devices, but since I don't have a smart phone couldn't figure out how to do it.

I love this solution