Tuesday Tips – Five Recommendations for Building a Tablet-Friendly Website

by on Mar 12, 2013

ttTuesday Tips helps financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover banking, brokerage, credit cards, asset management, retirement, annuities and insurance.

This week’s recommendations expand on a recent blog post examining tablet-friendly websites among fund firms. The following tips focus on ways financial services firms can build a tablet-friendly website, helping to improve the display and performance of their online websites on tablet devices:

#1 Fill the Screen – The best tablet-friendly sites maximize limited screen space, pushing a given page’s content to the very edges to avoid dead space. This problem normally arises when local navigation menus are arranged in columns parallel to the main page content, resulting in large swathes of empty space below. Especially given the already limited screen space on a tablet, this waste amounts to a considerable lost opportunity.


American Century Fund Profile Pages

#2 Avoid Excessive Scrolling – Having to continually scroll down a page to read its content, and then all the way back up to navigate away, is not ideal for the smaller screens and touch controls of a tablet device. The most mobile-friendly sites tend to arrange their content horizontally and/or using a tabbed menu. Although it would be unfair to expect any site to completely eliminate the need for scrolling, especially because most have lengthy legal disclaimers at the bottom of every page, there are some firms whose sites are better in this regard.

#3 Do Not Use Flash – Many of the most popular tablet devices, including Apple’s entire product line, do not support Adobe Flash and will not be able to display content that uses that technology. Even though Flash is useful for creating interactive fund performance charts and other rich media assets, firms may need to compromise on “Flashy” features to achieve better performance across platforms.

#4 Use Larger Images and Links – Small links make touch screen navigation more difficult. Not only that, but it doesn’t play to a tablets main strengths – convenience, interactivity and visual appeal. The best mobile-friendly sites, in keeping with the good practice of extending content as far to the screen edges as possible, feature large and visually engaging images, which can act as larger buttons or links given the right site context.

#5 Launch a Mobile App! – The best way that firms position their brand for success in the mobile marketplace is to join the industry trend and launch an official mobile app of their own. Not only would a new app make the most of a tablet’s unique capabilities, but it would let the firm produce an online offering that meets all the aforementioned criteria without feeling pressured to make organizational or design changes to its main website. Because so many firms in our coverage group have yet to release mobile apps of their own, we are eager to see how the mutual fund industry continues to develop into the mobile sphere.