Mobile traffic continues to outpace desktop computer traffic for two reasons. First, people increasingly rely on the Internet to conduct their daily lives. Second, people don’t conduct their daily lives from their desktop computers. When you’re on the move, it only makes sense to use the Internet wherever you happen to be, via your smart-phone.
To accommodate mobile traffic, a responsive restaurant website design is a good first step. However, it isn’t enough. According to w3schools:
“Responsive web design is about using CSS and HTML to resize, hide, shrink, enlarge, or move the content to make it look good on any screen”
Using software to rearrange a web page according to the screen size of the viewing device, does not address all mobile usability issues. Any one of these issues can drive away mobile traffic from your website. Here are three important ones:
Slow Website Loading Speed
Smart-phone users who want to connect to the Internet from wherever they happen to be, do so via their cellular network. Unfortunately, this type of connection is slower than the traditional broadband used by desktop computers. A website that’s somewhat slow on a desktop is even slower when viewed on a smart-phone.
Internet users these days have little patience for slow websites. Couple this with being hungry and looking for a potential place to order delivery/takeout from and the patience level all but dissapears. While a ten second wait doesn’t seem terribly long, it is asking too much of your visitors to make them wait ten seconds for every one of your pages to load. Imagine flipping through a menu at a restaurant where viewing each page required a ten second wait.
Common reasons for slow web page loading include:
- Your server lacks bandwidth. Cheap web hosting comes with a hidden cost: their servers lack sufficient bandwidth for the number of websites they host. If you are paying a few dollars a month for a shared hosting plan, your website is sharing the same server with far too many websites. This means there’s insufficient bandwidth to go around for all of you, which results in sluggish page loading speeds. Although a reputable hosting service will charge more per month, your website will be zippier. If your site receives lots of traffic, consider getting a virtual private server hosting package.
- Your image files are too large. Image files can get very large, especially if the images themselves are big. However, you can easily remedy this with image compression. Lossy compression works with JPG image files. This method causes a reduction in image quality. However, significant file reduction is possible before the quality reduction is noticeable to the human eye. Lossless compression reduces image file size without reducing its quality.
- You don’t use caching. Most modern websites assemble each page on your browser by calling up its different components from a database. The more components to a web page, the longer the page download takes. Caching combines the components together into fewer components (files). This means the database is queried fewer times, which speeds up the page download. This is the sort of thing that should be addressed during the creation of your restaurant website design project as it is much easier do it properly from the start rather than to go back and fix a poor structure.
Difficult User Input
Smart-phones lack the generous keyboards and screen sizes of desktop computers. This means that inputting information on websites designed for desktops is difficult from the point of view of a smart-phone user.
Avoid inputs requiring dragging and dropping of small objects, small links, menus densely packed with links, and small radio buttons. Make sure that graphical inputs are easily done by a finger on a small touch screen. Make text entry fields large and keep input of all kinds to a minimum. When possible, present choices as large clickable buttons rather than as text entry. A prime example of this for a restaurant website is the most common CTA button of them all “ORDER NOW” – make sure this button is prominent and not easily “dumb-thumbed” with another link that is perhaps a little to close on the same screen.
Complex graphics with subtle color combinations might look good on desktop computers, but may confuse your mobile visitors whose small screens are viewed under a variety of less than ideal lighting conditions. In fact, you don’t even have to choose one or the other, a good web restaurant web design team will know when to have an image simply not display based on the device being used to browse, this way you can have your cake and eat it too.
Make your graphics simpler and use fewer of them on each page. Graphics should have functional or branding purposes. There is little room on the screens of viewers for graphics meant solely to impress them. Finally, make ample use of white space between your graphics.
Attract more patrons to your restaurant by using the above suggestions to create a resturant website that’s optimized for mobile traffic. If you have any questions about restaurant website design or require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.