Legal Marketing & Web Design Blog

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Part II: Tablets

Your firm’s website looks great on your desktop but what about on your iPad?

Last week we explored the necessity of testing your website in the four major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari) to ensure cross-browser functionality. Equally important is taking time to ensure that your website is tablet-friendly.

If you’ve walked into a coffee shop or stepped on a plane in the past few months, it’s apparent that tablets have infiltrated the masses. Whether it’s the iPad, Nexus or the Kindle Fire, people are turning to tablets for internet connectivity on the go. In fact, a recent report published by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project estimated that over a third of American adults now own a tablet (almost twice as many as last year). With this number expected to increase in the next year, it’s critical that your law practice’s website be fully functional when accessed on a mobile device.

When developing a site that “works well” on a tablet, it’s important to keep in mind the key differences between a tablet and a desktop:

  1. Screen size – Tablets are smaller. So too are their screens.
  2. Touch screen – Unlike a desktop, tablets require the user to navigate with a single finger.
  3. Loading time – While this is largely dependent on internet service providers, generally speaking, mobile devices rely on mobile networks for internet service. While network speeds have improved significantly over the past few years, they still remain slower than home or office connectivity.
    When developing your site for tablet-use, consider the following:

Avoid Flash Animation

Flash Animation is not supported by many mobile devices so it’s best to avoid it. If the desktop version of your site does include Flash already, consider creating a mobile site which will simply recognize a tablet visitor and load a static image. Or consider converting your animation to HTML5 which can be viewed on mobile devices.

Make it Finger Friendly

It’s important to remember that unlike a desktop, which relies on a cursor and mouse for navigation, a tablet visitor will likely explore your website with a finger or two. In developing your site, make certain that there is increased text padding so hyperlinks in the body of your site’s content can be easily clicked on, even by a visitor with large fingers. Similarly, pages on your menu should be spaced so a visitor can easily select one, not two at the same time. Remember to design a site which is intuitive and follows basic mobile conventions.

Increase the Default Font Size

You want your visitors to be able to comfortably read your site’s copy without needing to double tap or pinch their tablet screens. As a general rule of thumb, increase font size to at least 14px for tablet users. The site text should always be readable, regardless of the orientation of the tablet screen.

If your law firm’s website is not tablet-friendly, you can be certain that you’ll lose quite a few prospective clients. Take time to thoroughly review your site across several tablets and ask friends and family members to do the same. An experienced website developer can help you design a site which is effective across every browser and operating system.