This Post is Part of a New Series – “The Shark Tank Survival Guide“
While you are most directly pitching to The Sharks, you are also presenting your idea to the show’s 7.9 million average weekly viewers. You may be prepared to endure their barrage of questions, but how are you handling the sudden inundation of viewers now interested in your business?
You will either sink or swim based on your viewer’s ability to quickly and easily research your company via smartphone or tablet (their second screen)!
62% percent of Americans have smartphones, and that number jumps to 88% in the 18-29 age demographic. In total 50% of Americans access the internet on their mobile/tablet, further demonstrating the importance of this arena. But the most important statistic is that:
84% of mobile/tablet owners use their devices as a second screen while watching television!
This is the most striking correlation between mobile users and Television watchers. This is direct evidence that if your business’s mobile capabilities aren’t adequate, you are likely losing the interest of millions of potential customers.
The better experience you provide on mobile devices, the more satisfied customers will be.
It should also be noted that 40% of Americans use social media on their mobile devices. In total, that translates to 126 million viewers who could be struggling to share their opinion of your business via the internet.
Out of those millions, at least a few thousand could be seriously interested in purchasing products or services from you. Making it hard for them to find you will make most of them give up. With a limited attention span, few consumers are likely to give you a second chance, it’s a missed opportunity.
Solution 1 – A Mobile Website
There are two ways to attack the issue of mobile accessibility. The first involves creating a mobile version of your website specifically catered to mobile user agents. Here are screenshots of ESPN’s full website as well as the mobile site.
As you can see, both versions have a nice flow and are designed with users in mind. The huge amounts of content published by ESPN are nicely laid out and easy to navigate for both sets of users (desktop and mobile).
- Two Experiences – When switching between your website’s desktop and mobile versions, there will likely be several layout inconsistencies. While the desktop version will often have headlines and articles provided for you, a mobile version may just be a series of menus with options for you to choose from. For ESPN this isn’t a big problem, because people who visit their website have become so familiar with their formulaic layout that navigation isn’t really hindered when switching between devices. However, for a new business like yours, hardly anyone will be familiar with your website. Because of this, the user may find navigation to be a bit irritating because they’re new to your site.
- What is “Mobile”? – Mobile sites (m.example.com) are displayed based on a mobile display. For now, that generally includes both smartphones and tablets. Are you confident that your design works for both sizes?
- Design is Expensive – You’ve already shelled out the cash to get a website designed, now you’re going to need to pay a designer to create a second, mobile friendly website.
- SEO Complications – Having multiple versions of your website can create duplicate content and other indexing issues with major search engines. Make sure to sign up for updates below as we have an extensive SEO chapter that will be released soon!
Solution 2 – Responsive Design
The second and, in our opinion, better solution is to design a responsive website. Responsive design allows web content to adapt based on the resolution of the device. For an adept example of this, you need look no further than QCM’s website.
When using responsive design, all (or most) of a page’s content remains consistent across devices, the only changes relate to layout and sizing. This provides a unified experience to users on any device. Responsive design allows you to display all of our important content whether they browse with their laptop, smartphone or tablet. A secondary benefit comes from users who like to multitask; if they resize their browsing window, your content will adapt and maintain a satisfying browsing experience.
- Slower Performance – Responsive design often causes web pages to load slower as there is additional CSS and sometimes images that need to be loaded in the background. In some cases, this can create SEO issues (although Google recommends it) or simply annoy visitors, but by our measure this extra time is well worth the ease of navigation and saved cost!
- Design Complications – Similar to a dedicated mobile website, there can be additional costs associated with responsive design. There are many factors that need to be considered when preparing responsive design as compared to traditional design. As this practice becomes more popular though, many website design companies (like QCM!) take a mobile-first approach and include this process.
Statistics show that an increasing percentage of our population are turning to mobile devices. No matter the solution you choose, one fact remains; your product must be accessible on the devices used by your potential customers. When making your decision, remember this: It’s not about designing for devices, it’s about designing for users.