[TIPS] Why Being Mobile-Friendly Is So Important

woman on bus with cell phone taking online public engagement survey

In recent years we have witnessed the explosive growth of internet users on mobile devices around the world. In 2015, there were more Google searches on mobile than on desktops for the first time. 47% of Facebook’s 1.55 billion users only use it on their phone. Our own results point to this growing trend as well. On an average MetroQuest project, over 33% of participants are using a mobile device.

What’s more, people are routinely using multiple devices. According to Forrester Research, 75% of US adults use 2 or more devices connected to the internet and 67% have switched devices while completing common tasks. In addition, 62% of US online adults expect a mobile-friendly website.

Pew Research found that in 2015, 99% of smartphone owners use their phone at home, 82% use their phones while in transit and 69% use their phone at work each week. As more and more people use their phones and tablets as a part of their everyday life, you need to make sure that you’re not left behind. You need to reach your community where they spend their time – go to them!

So, now that you know how important mobile optimization is – how do you reach your community on their mobile devices?

Make Sure Your Engagement Process is Optimized for Mobile

This is key. Do you use sites that require you to pinch, scroll and zoom around on your phone just to be able to properly read them? The online world is moving away from this, towards a mobile-first environment where everything is optimized for mobile use.

From your project website to your engagement tools and processes, everything that you’re doing online has to be done with mobile in mind.

In order for users to enjoy the best experience (which will lead to better engagement), make sure that your project website and all other online engagement efforts are done using mobile-friendly sites and apps. MetroQuest is optimized for mobile use and offers an easy-to-use and engaging experience. This opens up a whole new avenue for participants to give their input, and also helps to engage harder to reach segments of your community.

Make it Simple

Remove any friction that will make the experience difficult on a mobile device. Keep your text short and relevant. Avoid overly complex graphics. The ultimate goal is to help your community find what they need and do what they want to do more easily.

Be on Social Media

These days, with everyone glued to their phone and their favorite social networks, you need to be where the conversation is. With notifications and easy to use interfaces, social media platforms are a great mobile-centric way to reach your audience.

… And Don’t Forget About Email!

As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that over half of all emails are now opened on mobile. This means that you need to make sure that your emails are optimized for mobile too. Use large, easy to read text and images. Keep the layout simple and use attention-grabbing calls-to-action, both for the subject line and in the email itself.

Keep these principles in mind when planning your next public engagement process. By adapting to these changes in participants’ digital behavior, you’ll ensure that your project has the potential to engage more people than ever before.

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