Like many former readers of print newspapers and magazines, I now read these publications online. It’s quite satisfying when using my 21” iMac desk computer but increasingly I find myself reading publications on my mobile phone, along with millions of other people.
Even more people are catching the news on tablets, which are actually shrinking in size, too.
Who Started That Rule?
So how about the “rule” that the most important information on any website should be above the fold?
That terminology came into use because newspapers were and are still displayed folded so that only the top half of the front page is visible. That space above the fold is designated for the most important news and information.
But the rule is a little ridiculous. How can you possibly squeeze everything that’s important into the top of your website so that it stands out on a mobile device?
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, you need to design a separate mobile site. And after doing some research that’s just what I did. I’ll show you my current mobile design and the one I’m planning to replace it with (I still may do a little tweaking).
I like the new one better.
Do It Yourself
I formatted my website for mobile viewing a couple of years ago. I should say that a representative from Network Solutions at its trade booth at Blog World (now known as New Media Expo) convention had a little extra time so he did it for me.
I liked the design because it offers the reader a table of contents. You have a choice of things you can do: visit my blog, the full website, and even click on the phone icon and call me directly. Here is what it looks like:
I just screened Network Solution’s video and it’s still necessary to do your own formatting, as is the case with other providers. By the way, several WordPress templates automatically format for mobile viewing.
Things Have Changed
But a lot has changed in the last two years. I pay $8 a month but you can get a basic plan from other providers without charge. All you do is type in your website URL and your site is automatically formatted. Before going live you can even tweak the design.
I did a search and clicked on the site of the first Google paid ad I saw. It’s called Duda Mobile. I typed in my URL and voila! There was my website. However, there are quite a few templates to choose from.
This is where my technophobia kicked in. I decided to call customer service and spoke to a most patient and pleasant tech support rep named Ronald. He patiently explained things to me as I tried formatting a couple of templates. Below is the one I think I am going to use. I like the idea the viewer can scroll directly to the information he wants.
Also, there is the added feature of being able to follow me on my social networks and if you scroll down just below those icons you will see the titles and excerpts of my latest blog posts. I blog for business so that’s important to me.
I’ve saved it and I’m letting it marinade for a few days to see if I still like the design or if I want to tweak it. I chose the paid plan because it allows for more visitors, a customized URL and tech support.
What the Big Companies Are Doing
Several of the biggest companies have chucked the idea of including what’s generally been considered important to include “above the fold” such as contact information and descriptions of products and services.
I visited Apple’s mobile website and the iPhone 5 is most prominently displayed. Apple knows what’s making the most profit for them.
IBM is a global organization with many more services than they could possibly display on a mobile screen so they simply have a list of posts – does my heart good, as a blogger.
I’m happy with my website design when viewed on a regular desktop or laptop computer. I feel all the important information for my readers is “above the fold.” I’m not so famous as Apple so that I can get away with showing a single image on my mobile site. Besides, I don’t sell a product.
The idea of “above the fold” is really an outmoded idea. What’s important to your company is very different from other companies. You want your mobile site to represent your brand in the best light possible. Highlight what will induce a visitor to continue reading.
If your website is not now formatted for mobile, then just do it.
I would love to hear from you about my new mobile design. What do you think? Do you like it? Is it easy to read and understand? What would you add or delete?