Mobile browsing needs to speed up to remain relevant

In June 2012, Google's Pierre Far formally announced that the company recommends webmasters use responsive design features when developing mobile content. This web design approach creates landing pages that are flexible enough to adapt to varying screen sizes and platforms of the visiting users.

In order for designs to be responsive, and mobile marketing strategies to be effective, webmasters need to understand what constitutes a fluid web page, and the common pitfalls many sites experience.

Responsive design traits
A responsive design website includes a fluid grid, media queries that use custom CSS coding and fluid images. A fluid grid system utilizes percentages to define column or div widths instead of pixels. This allows websites to expand or contract based on the type of device accessing the published content. Similarly, responsive images also use fluid grids, so no matter the size of the mobile device, images are also scaled to look their best.

Media queries are also integral parts of a responsive design, as these are based on the minimum and maximum width of a browser. Therefore, web designers can create pages intended for mobile-only browsers, so these sites load faster.

Pitfalls of mobile browsing
Mobile marketing is a growing strategy in today's digital age, and webmasters need to keep abreast of the evolutions in design if they want to be successful.

According to Compuware's "What Users Want from Mobile," report, approximately 40 percent of users turn to a competitor's site after they have bad mobile experiences. Interactions can turn sour when pages fail to load or take too long to process. Web developers need to ensure content is visible for all mobile devices, which means forgoing Flash designs from user-friend alternatives like HTML5, jQuery and JPG or GIF image formats.

In addition to optimizing websites to load on all mobile devices, developers need to make sure their designs are light enough that they load in shorter periods of time. According to Compuware, nearly 43 percent of mobile users are unlikely to return to a slow-loading mobile site. While up to 74 percent of mobile users wait five seconds for a page to load, an alarming 60 percent of people navigate away from a page if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Businesses that want to use mobile marketing to improve brand awareness and profit margins need to make sure they're using available tools to the best of their ability. Now that Google has announced it prefers responsive designs, webmasters can digest the recommendations and begin to improve their mobile marketing efforts.