The Kindle Fire is set to release in two weeks, and looks to be a real contender in the world of tablets. Whether you prefer an iPad, an Android tablet, or one of the handful of other tablet devices, the Kindle Fire will clearly boost the number of tablet users. One analyst has estimated that 5 million Kindle Fires will be shipped in Q4 of this year in addition to Apple shipping an estimated 12 million iPad 2s per quarter globally.
Combine an increase in tablet sales with the popularity of browsing the Internet from smartphones and you have a lot of potential visitors coming to your website from something other than a traditional computer.
Okay, okay, that’s all fine and good, but what does it have to do with your business? If your company has a website, it is important to know that limitations of mobile devices could make your website look and feel a little off. Grab a smartphone or tablet and check out your site. If you’re happy with how it’s rendered, great! If it’s not up to your standard, don’t freak out.
Before you invest in making your site mobile-friendly, you should first check to see if it’s worth it. If you’re one of the countless businesses using Google Analytics (free!) to track visitor activity on your site, go to Analytics ▸ Visitors ▸ Technology ▸ Browser & OS and look at your traffic sources. You will be able to tell how many of your visitors are coming from mobile devices. If that number is higher than you’re comfortable with, it may be time to ask your web developer to create a mobile version of your site. If you don’t have a web developer, Mashable has put together a nice list of tools that can help you do it yourself.
The key things to remember when making a mobile version is a reduced screen size, less processing power, and a generally slower Internet connection (sounds fun, right?). You may be comfortable having high-resolution images on your homepage, but they will take forever to download over a 3G connection and be redundant on a low-resolution screen. Many devices also don’t support flash, and many of those that do, don’t do it very well. Simple is the way to go when it comes to mobile sites.
Another thing to consider is your site navigation. It’s very common for websites to use a mouse hover that reveals extra information and/or navigation when the cursor hovers over a link. Tablets don’t have cursors which means they’re incapable of utilizing hover features. You may need to create a simpler, click-only navigation for your mobile site.
We want to hear what you think. Is mobile traffic something your business is thinking about?