Why Grant Makers Want You to Have a Mobile-Friendly Website
Why would your funders care if your website is a mobile-friendly site? For that matter, what is a mobile-friendly website?
Responsive design websites are mobile-friendly, in other words, they adapt to all screen sizes, no matter what type of the device the user uses to access the website. In 2015, Google announced that more searches are done on mobile devices than on desktops. Health, social services and other grant funded programs provide users with access to information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through effective websites. How clients, clinics and policy makers access information has changed and continues to change.
How are Your Constituents Connecting to You and What They Need?
The Pew Research Center Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015 gives us some clear numbers and significant trends (and grant makers are listening) :
- Percent of google searches using a mobile device is now (2015) greater than the number of searches on desktop (Source: Google)
- 80% of internet users have a smartphone and 47% use a tablet to search the internet.
- 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them — either because they lack broadband at home, or because they have few options for online access other than their cell phone. (Source: Pew Research Center 2015)
- 40% use their smartphone to look up government services
- 62% use their smartphone to get information about a health condition
Who is Smartphone Dependent? (Hint: it may surprise you)
Target demographics, populations most likely to need programs funded through grants, rely on smartphones for online access at elevated levels.
- Younger adults (more likely to have young children) — 15% of Americans ages 18-29 are heavily dependent on a smartphone for online access.
- Those with low household incomes and levels of educational attainment — Some 13% of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are smartphone-dependent. Just 1% of Americans from households earning more than $75,000 per year rely on their smartphones to a similar degree for online access.
- Non-whites — 12% of African Americans and 13% of Latinos are smartphone-dependent, compared with 4% of whites
- Smartphone-dependent users are less likely to own some other type of computing device, less likely to have a bank account, less likely to be covered by health insurance, and more likely to rent or to live with a friend or family member rather than own their own home than smartphone owners who are less reliant on their mobile devices
- 67% use their phone to share pictures, videos, or commentary about events happening in their community, with 35% doing so frequently.
- 56% use their phone at least occasionally to learn about community events or activities, with 18% doing this “frequently.”
If you haven’t already, take a moment to visit your organization’s website using a smartphone and a tablet. Is your website easy to access? Is the content targeted to serving your clients and partners easy to use and intuitive? Do you follow these public service website best practices:
- Up-to-date Content Strategy – Defines topics, themes, and purpose of website content including user experience, search engine optimization (SEO), and website governance.
- Contact Information – put contact information on every page
- Dynamic Subpages – sub-pages are low maintenance and provide a general overview of a section to give the user a brief one-sentence description of what is on a page before viewing it.
- Formatting – Content that is easy to find, scan or read ensures citizens/constituents get to the information they need and return to the website when they need more information. Clear formatting includes:
Lists – use numbered, alphabetized and or bulleted lists
Consistent – Place images, contact information, FAQs, resource lists, event links, etc. in the same place on each page.
- Images- When possible, use images from the program and area or images with text and logos about the program. Stock images or clip art tend to be ignored.
- Page Length – Shorter pages are better. Reduce the need to scroll to obtain key information.
- Time Sensitive Information – Calendars, Emergency Alerts, News, Applications, Community Events, Meeting Minutes, Hearings, Policy Proposals, etc. should be easily updated by staff and readily accessed by constituents.
How does your website stack up? How does your local government’s website look on a mobile device? Do you know of organizations that are doing responsive websites right? Please share your links and thoughts in the comments below.