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It appeared on every major news channel worldwide: Google pays Apple a billion dollars.

Well, it wasn’t as shady as it sounds. There was no midnight parking lot meeting and no large manila envelope was handed over. Google simply offered Apple a share of the revenue, for the privilege of being the default search engine on all iPhones. This isn’t an unusual or illegal move; it’s just the bill that’s newsworthy.

We’ve always talked about mobile search as if it were the future. Something coming up, something you want to prepare yourself for, or for those innovative few, something you can jump on and use to get ahead.

Yet, even that thinking is getting old. Mobile’s been here for a while. So long, in fact, that the largest search engine is doling out billions to become the default internet search on iPhones.

Google’s Telling You Where to Spend Your Developer’s Time

One thing to take away from Google and Apple’s dealings is: make sure you have a responsive website. The sheer amount of money spent on mobile search is only going to grow, and there are new technologies and designs coming out every day, making mobile-friendly websites more accessible to businesses and customers alike.

Really, there’s no excuse not to upgrade. However, be aware that getting a responsive website is only the first step. Next, it needs to be optimized. It’s one thing to have a responsive website; it’s another to have a well-built one.

Speed is The Be All and End All

Busy train station

When finding information, people tend to choose the fastest method to get them where they want to be.

Mobile browsing is about getting information, and getting it fast. The clock is ticking. People are moving. The longer you take, the more likely they’ll move on. It’s as simple as that.

In fact, Google’s own Chrome Browser automatically compresses websites for speedy load-ups.

Not only that, loading speed is also an SEO ranking element. Having a fast website will better serve your customers and Google will likely reward you with better rankings. It’s a best of both worlds sort of thing.

Get your developer to review and shrink your website as much as possible. Present your customers with the necessary information they need, and cut the bloat.

Less Is More

Vancouver web design company for user experience

Design your website based on how your users will experience it.

A recent trend in web design is to rely on impressive glamour shots (normally of landscapes) to act as backgrounds, banners and so on. While lovely to look at, especially on a large screen, these images come with a cost, and that’s memory.

Desktops are a little more permissible. They have more power to render these sites, and home internet speeds are still faster than 3G or 4G. Phones just aren’t there yet.

Think about function and why a customer is looking at your site in the first place. Design it around that goal, once that’s streamlined and fixed, then think about how to make it all look good.

In an odd way, when one can’t rely on big splashy images to sell your business, a simple, light, easy-to-navigate design will more often than not be a better salesman. Customers’ imagination will fill in the blanks otherwise occupied by black and white photos of vintage shop fronts.

Mobile-Friendly Ecommerce

Mobile devices promote ecommerce growth

Ecommerce transactions will continue to grow on mobile devices.

This should be something included with a responsive upgrade, but it’s still worth mentioning here. If you have an ecommerce store, it has to be mobile-friendly.

One third of transactions through the ecommerce platform Shopify came from mobile devices. And that’s just one platform out of many, not to mention what Amazon sees.

Make sure that there are no design elements, unnecessary steps and/or a clunky UI stopping customers from shopping on your site.

Beyond that; try to break it. Throw everything you have at it, add a thousand products to the cart, try it on different mobile browsers, input made-up credit card numbers or addresses. If it’s still standing, you have a good platform.

Any failures, tell your developer, more often than not it’s a straightforward fix. One that’ll give your website that little bit of an edge over your competition.

What do you think? How are you going to spend your development budget this year? Do you even have one?