LMA Strategies - March/April 2013 - (Page 16)

Law Firm Websites for the iPad Generation By Robert Algeri A prediction: The next website your firm launches will be built for the iPad generation, and it will incorporate something called “responsive design.” Why? Because all websites — including law firm sites — are seeing a sharp increase in mobile traffic (i.e., visitors on iPads, iPhones and Android devices). These mobile users have unique usability needs that websites need to accommodate — and responsive design is quickly emerging as the standard for the next generation of mobile-ready websites. What Is Responsive Design? Responsive design is a technology that dynamically adapts your website to fit on any screen size, from iPhones and iPads to desktop computers. Responsive design, which is very new, addresses many of the limitations of traditional mobile websites. A Big Shift Toward Mobile I recently examined the traffic to the law firm websites that my firm (Great Jakes) manages and found that the number of “mobile” visitors increased 101 percent throughout the past year. Currently, more than 1 in 10 visitors to a law firm website come via a mobile device. And all signs point to continued growth of mobile device usage (for example, iPad sales are “Mobile Visitors” to Law Firm Websites 40 % expected to soon surpass laptop sales). So we expect mobile traffic to law firm sites to double again next year and probably the following year. It won’t be long before mobile devices account for 30-40 percent of your website’s traffic. Mobile Users Are Frustrated The rapid adoption of mobile devices poses challenges to legal marketers: The current generation of law firm websites has been designed for desktop computers and, therefore, isn’t serving mobile users well. Several studies show that if your website is not optimized for mobile, mobile visitors probably loath visiting it. For example, a 2012 survey of mobile users (by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger) found that nearly half of all mobile visitors say that they feel “frustrated and annoyed” when they visit sites that are poorly optimized for mobile. And 36 percent say they feel like “they’ve wasted their time” when they visit those sites. Responsive Design — The New Mobile Solution In June 2012, Google ushered in a new standard for mobile websites when it endorsed responsive design. Responsive design coding techniques make every page of your website mobile-friendly. The technology automatically adjusts each website page to fit on any screen size. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if your website visitor is on an iPhone, iPad, laptop, Kindle or desktop with a 27-inch cinema display, the positioning of text and images adapts to fit the screen size. But the benefits of employing responsive design techniques expand beyond the user’s experience. 30 % 20 % 10 % 2011 2012 2 013 2014 2 015 Note: “Mobile Visitors” includes both smartphone and tablet users. Source: Great JakeS MarketiNG coMpaNy 1. Single web address: Traditional mobile websites have a different address from the firm’s main site (example: mobile.LawFirm.com). This causes confusion for users, as well as for Google. Responsive design solves this problem. 2. Optimized for all devices: The old mobile site paradigm was focused on two device types: mobile phones and desktop computers. In contrast, responsive design anticipates the unique needs of other devices like iPads, iPad minis, Kindles, Nooks, small laptops and large desktop monitors, and all the future mobile devices that will surely be introduced. 3. Full site: Traditional mobile sites often omitted significant amounts of the website’s content. This is becoming less 16 | Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing, March/April 2013, V15.N02

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LMA Strategies - March/April 2013

LMA Strategies - March/April 2013
President’s Podium
About This Issue
Competing on Intelligence
Online Competition Is Brutal: Enhance Your Results with SEO
The War for Lateral Attorney Talent Within Law Firms
First-place Media Pitching
Starting on a Shoestring: How to Build a Robust Social Media Program
Law Firm Websites for the iPad Generation
Friendly Competition Sets One AmLaw200 Firm Apart
Movies, Marketing and Professional Development
Ask the Authorities
Dicta: Marketers on the Move
From the Desk of the Executive Director

LMA Strategies - March/April 2013