Hi Sitepoint gurus.
I just noticed in my Google Analytics for my art/writing community website that 5% of my users are vising my website using mobile. Is 5% high or low? At what point should I consider developing a mobile web version of my site? I don't mean developing an iPhone/Android app. I just mean a simplified web experience optimal for smaller screens/mobile friendly interface.
I'm not terribly interested in developing an app. That seems like a wasted effort since I'd have to maintain building more than one of them. Seems simpler to just make a web version.
I most likely wont modify the regular web experience to be more mobile friendly. PaperDemon is very content heavy and there's no way to change that. It makes more sense to make a mobile web version that takes out the less used features and simplifies the interface for browsing.
Thanks again everyone for your input.
The number of mobile users is going to increase and therefore if you have resources (time, money), you should definitely consider developing a mobile version.
5% is a decent proportion IMHO and this means, you would do it sooner than later.
If you look at Visitors -> Mobile -> Mobile Devices, how are your pages per visit, average time on site, and bounce rate compared to the rest of your visitors?
If your pages per visit are at least close to the rest of the sites numbers that's a pretty good indication that your site is not any harder to use on a mobile device than it is a desktop computer. It could be possible that only specific mobile browsers have a tough time with the current page. For instance, you might find that iPhone users have numbers inline with the rest of the sites visitors, but maybe Blackberry users are having a tough time because of their smaller screens.
Another thing worth looking in to is how many of these visitors are regular users who use the site from both their home/work computer and also from their mobile device while they're out and about. As far as I know, this isn't something that would be easy to track using just the default stats provided by Analytics. Considering the site appears to be a membership based site, maybe you could start a poll asking how many people browse from their mobile devices in addition to home/work computers.
5% is higher than normal for general sites, but for an artistic community site (likely higher than average apple/iPhone usage) would seem reasonable.
I had a quick look at your site on an HTC Desire and it displays and can be used fine as it is. Whether a specific mobile only version is worth creating depends on what you think the benefit will be versus the resources to implement.
I forgot to mention why it's nice to know whether a large portion of your mobile users are existing desktop users. It's good to know because existing desktop users tend to already be familiar with the interface, so that can skew the comparison results you get from Analytics.
If people already know where things are, they're going to know how to get to them quickly even on a small screen. They're more likely to be going to inner pages than someone who comes from say, a search engine or social networking site and isn't familiar with the interface if the interface is tough to use.
Now, if you find out a large portion of the mobile visitors are your existing user base, it's definitely worth polling your members before proceeding with your mobile version of the site. Find out exactly which elements, if any, are giving them a tough time, and focus on improving those elements rather than creating an entirely new layout that leaves them wondering where things are.
Why dont you develop an iphone/android application?
Probably because he doesn't want people to have to download more clutter onto their device which isn't necessary?
If every website on the web had an app, it would be impossible to use your device.
With Millions of users each day buying new mobile devices that have decent web browsing capabilities it is a must to design with mobile users in mind.
Rather than concentrating on the percentage of mobile users that you already have, you should be looking at attracting the potential millions of mobile users by having a progressive design that works well on mobile devices.
My stats for pages per visit on mobile devices is:
Site Avg: 12.48 (-21.65%)
So it's close, which is good. But it looks like I may want to create a mobile specific interface. I think the desktop web experience might be too cluttered for mobile so I'll take a look at designing a mobile version.
Only thing is its another thing to have to build and maintain. Thanks everyone for the input. I had no idea if 5% was high or low so good to know.
While all of the above is correct, I personally feel there is a very obvious and simple answer that perhaps you should consider. You say that you have 5% of your overall visitors are browsing your website on mobile devices and you want to know when you should try and customise the experience to deal with their issues, the question you need to ask yourself is how many percent of visitors is too many for you to potentially lose out of not catering to their needs. Some people are happy to leave IE6 users out in the dark because they only have 1% of visitors using that browser, some people would be happy to dump 5%. What you need to establish is that every individual who visits your site seeking a mobile experience could be one potential customer you lose. While there isn't a right or wrong answer to how much is too much, it really depends upon whether you are willing to let that 5% potentially not use your site / services on the basis that you haven't dealt with their devices.