What Makes a Website “Mobile Friendly”?
Mobile friendly website design has been an important subject for many consumer-facing companies, brands and marketers since the first browser was opened on a cell phone. With content being available at almost every turn, there is a much greater need to connect with your market “in their hands” the same way you do on a desk top and in person. The website has become less of a landing page and is increasingly becoming an experience and an opportunity for you to connect and communicate effectively with your audience.
Understandably, marketers look at the mobile environment and see an opportunity to create a more exciting and connected brand. While this is very important for apparel brands, consumer packaged goods brands, electronic brands, and many others, the opportunity still exists for services and even for healthcare. Creating a more connected environment for patients and providers is no longer a challenge, but becomes an opportunity for many healthcare providers once they are able to create a more mobile friendly experience, the framework of which begins with the website.
“Mobile Friendly” is a term that you’ve heard from technology and service providers for a while now and having a web presence that is “Responsive” is becoming a necessary way for people to connect no matter where or how they are introduced to your company or practice. Before we dive into what this means, both in definition and for your practice or clinic, let’s take a look into why mobile friendly design is making waves across all industries.
According to a 2014 Mobile Behavior Report from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, 85% of people stated that their mobile device is a central part of their daily life. A stat not just backed by survey, but actual data received from tracking smartphone and tablet usage of almost 500 individuals. This doesn’t just mean that more and more people are using their phones every day. Studies like these are proving that as the mobile device becomes more versatile and increasingly user friendly for web searches and application usage, their phone or tablet is becoming an integral part of daily life.
In 2014 we saw a major shift in the mobile marketplace as over 51% of all Google searches were done through a mobile device. Beyond the simple fact that mobile devices are more convenient, this shows us that whether it be a new outfit, restaurant, massage therapist or even pediatrician, people are finding their answers in the palm of their hand. Not only is the volume of mobile usage up, but so is the duration of usage with the average person spending 3.3 hours per day on at least one of their mobile devices.
All of this great information gives us some quality insight into the behaviors of the mobile market as a whole - and while this has a great impact on consumers and marketers, what does it mean for those of us in the heathcare industry? Here are just a few more statistical insights from Pew Research
that we might find a bit more relevant:
- At least 75% of all health inquiries start at the search engine
- Over 50% of those searches are coming from mobile devices
- 70% of searchers ended up receiving information, care, or support from a doctor or other health care professional
- More than 25% of health seekers have been asked to pay for information they’ve searched for online
- Over 19% of smartphone owners have downloaded an app to help track their health
This tells us that there are a lot of people out there looking for supportive healthcare content and most of them would prefer to get it from their it from their providers, but still they resort to search. This also suggests that while the general public puts their trust in their provider, but only after they have done the research themselves. The disconnect between the provider’s web presence and content and the patient’s needs is evident and with the ever increasing mobile activity practices, clinics, hospitals and many others will need to keep up in order to stay connected to their patients.
These numbers are staggering and great to have, but what does this increasing wave of mobile usage mean? Simply put, the more we use our mobile devices to search, the more we are going to look for mobile friendly experiences. The seamless navigation of a responsive website and the access to great content on a mobile application will continue to pull people in and keep them within those experiences and those that are not will lose out. Beyond the fact that users enjoy and interact more with mobile friendly site, Google
makes it pretty clear that those that put effort into their mobile presence are rewarded in searches.
According to Google, creating a more mobile friendly site
is one of the major steps in creating a strong SEO presence. When Google is able to collect your content easier and understand your website it is more likely to show up in a mobile search. The world of SEO can become very complicated and tough to manage, but this just shows that by creating a website that delivers a mobile friendly experience, not only are you helping your patients connect with your practice and the content available on your site, but you are helping potential patients and parents find your site.
Now that we know why it is becoming more and more important to have a mobile friendly web experience from the perspective of you patients and your practice, let’s go back to our initial question: What is a “Mobile Friendly” website?
A mobile friendly website is essentially taking the entire look, feel and performance of your website on a desktop or laptop and translating that to a tablet or smartphone. This is also known as Responsive Website Design due to the fact that your site responds to the device it is being searched and viewed upon. Without going into the technical aspects of how it is built, lets take a look at how to spot this.
Take your desktop version of your website:
Now shrink it down to the size of a tablet or phone display:
Notice some of the simple changes and how they affect the feel of the site. With the RemedyConnect website example you can see how the menu disappears into a “hamburger” menu, as we call it. Which is just a smaller, more efficient version of the normal menu with the same functionality and navigation. Along with the menu change, the page stacks more effectively, allowing for vertical scrolling and removing the need to swipe the page across to view more of it. When it comes to delivering content this becomes an extremely effective feature for those reading or gathering information on your mobile site. This also helps as Google scrubs the pages for content that will help pull up your site in organic searches.
So now that we have taken a look at some of the basics behind a mobile friendly, responsive website design, what do you think? Not that large of a change, right? In this case a little bit goes a long way. Basic functionality and navigation of a website are designed with the person landing on your page in mind. They are not just falling on to your website, they are experiencing your office outside of those four walls and they are meeting your practice, virtually.
With the world increasingly become more and more mobile, that experience needs to follow suit. As we can see, with searches increasing on mobile devices and the sheer number of searches that are related to healthcare there is a growing disconnect between the patient and the provider. Practices that can combine the mobile landscape and their medical expertise have a great opportunity ahead of them. Offering effective content is just one piece of the puzzle and without the framework to communicate and connect with both current and potential patients the message can become lost and so can your audience.
Feel free to take a look at a few of our latest website designs
, all of which are built with responsive design and reach out if you have any questions at all. Be sure to subscribe to the RemedyConnect blog to stay up to date on the best ways to create a simplified healthcare experience for the patient, provider, and practice.