Tips for optimizing your author website for mobile users
In one of our earliest posts, we explored the idea of knowing your reader, particularly as it pertains to marketing your books to them. We talked about the well known demographics and lesser-known psychographics. In her new book, relationship marketing expert Mari Smith reveals a new one: technographics: “Technograpchs is a composite picture of the type of people you’re trying to reach, which networks they hang out on, and — perhaps most importantly — how you’re going to reach them.” One of an author’s keys to technographics is knowing how people purchase your books, because the number who are purchasing — and reading — via mobile devices is growing.
Last time, we talked about how these mobile users need to factor into your web design. Today, I’d like to point you in the direction of some help for formatting your site so that mobile users can easily read, navigate, and use it.
PracticalCommerce.com offers some good questions to get you started:
- Have you ever seen your website on a mobile device?
- Are you confident your customers can find the information they are looking for?
- Can they make a purchase from your website on their handheld device?
Depending on your level of skill as a Web designer, you may simply want to pass on this info to your webmaster. PracticalCommerce.com also recommends checking the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specifications for mobile devices. Issues they tackle include:
- Is your site using tables?
- Does your site use a lot of images or multi-media files?
- Does your site take a long time to download on a web browser?
Something to think about when assigning styles for mobile devices is to keep it very simple. Mobile devices are still a bit slower, so you want to avoid using lots of images and graphics. In addition, there are varying screen sizes and resolutions with handheld devices, so it’s a good idea to scale page elements by screen size, rather than setting fixed pixel widths for page elements.
You can also find a 60-item list of Mobile Web Best Practices at WC3. I won’t list all of them here, but they include things like:
- Thematic Consistency. Ensure that content provided by accessing a URL yields a thematically coherent experience when accessed from different devices.
- Navbar. Provide only minimal navigation at the top of the page.
- Balance. Take into account the trade-off between having too many links on a page and asking the user to follow too many links to reach what they are looking for.
- Pop-Ups. Do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window without informing the user.
- Auto Refresh. Do not create periodically auto-refreshing pages, unless you have informed the user and provided a means of stopping it.
- Clarity. Use clear and simple language.
- Page Size Usable. Divide pages into usable but limited size portions.
- Large Graphics. Do not use images that cannot be rendered by the device.
- Use of Color. Ensure that information conveyed with color is also available without color.
- Page Title. Provide a short but descriptive page title.
Note that some of these are good advice for ANY website.
According to Pelfusion.com, you can easily set up your WordPress blog for mobile users with the WPTouch plugin.
Lastly, I’m not making a recommendation for this, but Google offers a simple way to optimize your site for mobile devices. Enter the URL of the website and indicate whether or not you want to include images. Click “Go” to create a mobile-optimized version of the site.
*Savvy Book Marketer
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