How websites work with mobile devices

Many standard websites work well and look great on a computer or laptop. However, on the smaller screen of a mobile device, sites with lots of graphics, complex navigation or too much text are hard to use.

If your website is not optimised — that is, designed with mobile phone users in mind — you could be cutting out a significant, and growing, section of your audience. Customers may turn to your competitors who have a mobile website because they may perceive this as better service.

Options for optimising your website

There are 2 ways to make your website work well on mobile devices:

  1. Modify your standard website so that it works better on mobile devices   this means the same version will run on both computers and smartphones
  2. Develop a mobile version of your website. People who access your website via a mobile device will be redirected to this version at a separate URL (internet address). This way you can target your mobile website to the things people most want to do while they're out and about. You may provide an option to view your full website if they don't want to use the mobile version.

Characteristics of mobile optimised websites

A website that works well on mobile devices will generally be easy to view, use and navigate.

An optimised website is likely to include:

  • a clean, clear display with limited graphics, so that the site looks neat on the small screen of a smartphone or tablet
  • simple navigation and a good search engine to prevent people having to scroll and click
  • short blocks of concise text with sub-headings and white space so users can easily scan the content.

Example of a mobile optimised website

The Queensland Government's TransLink site is a great example of a website that is optimised for mobile use.

TransLink's mobile version is quite different from its standard website. Open TransLink on your smartphone and you will see a very simple list of options arranged in the order that people are likely to use them when they are out and about. The journey planner function is very prominent.

Also consider...