Scads of small type. Truncated graphics. Unusable forms. Browser-crashing incompatibility.

mobile examples

On the right, a site not optimized for mobile — tiny, cut-off text, pics that have to be zoomed-in to see, and tiny, cluttered menu. On the right, clear navigation, mobile-friendly text, and clear calls to action.

There are people looking for you — wanting to learn more, wanting to volunteer or even donate to you campaign or cause. And more and more (maybe even up to 50% of the time) they’re using their mobile phones to do it.

Not sure if your web site is mobile-compatible? Don’t feel too terribly bad — turns out some of the major political campaigns are behind the curve, too.

From Politico:

A POLITICO analysis of mobile sites for about 40 competitive House and Senate races found that a majority were plagued with missed opportunities for campaigns trying to find volunteers, donors and voters. The no-nos range from clunky pages that frequently crashed or weren’t formatted properly to content that was just too tiny to read.

Another big problem often discouraged by some political consultants: multiple pages of navigation before a potential donor can hit the send button with their all-important credit card numbers.

Political operatives from both parties say they recognize mobile’s tantalizing possibilities. Still, many campaigns are cutting corners on the mobile front — ignoring pleas for fewer tabs or larger font sizes — even if the potential payoff could mean more votes or thousands of dollars in additional donations. They’re reluctant to shift limited budget dollars away from traditional TV ads, especially for innovations that have a short shelf life limited to this election season.

To digital campaign strategists, seeing the shortcomings on the mobile front makes little sense considering how Americans have come to obsessively use their phones as their primary source not just for daily communication but also for entertainment.

Read full article.

Most users don’t want to read lots of text online at all, and even less so on mobile. And most campaigns can’t spring for the coding and development for a full mobile site, custom forms, and the tools required for credit card processing.

That said, if people are looking for you on their phones — and they are — there’s no excuse for making sure they can find you.

The priorities:

1. Using web analytics, determine what portion of your audience is accessing your site via mobile.

2. Are there particular times of week or year when mobile usage spikes?

3. Is there particular content that mobile users access more than desktop users?

4. Can your donation form be simplified or otherwise optimized for mobile?

5. Homepage should always be legible in mobile!

All this information inform the urgency and priorities for building out mobile compatibility.

After tackling the minimum, you can further refine your mobile site with custom content for mobile pages (shorter, more tightly-drafted content and photos), custom graphics and features to more closely mimic your desktop-viewable web site, other bells and whistles to integrate with social and other mobile-friendly tools.

cover image from Flickr user /marcoarment