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Why are so many professional services firms mobile-unfriendly?

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Why are so many professional services firms mobile-unfriendly?


Since early 2014, mobile internet use has exceeded desktop internet browsing. Social media strategist Kim Garst predicts 2015 will herald a shift to a truly ‘mobile-first’ mentality. If she’s right, Australia’s ‘leading’ professional services firms have a lot of work to do – 60% aren’t even ‘mobile-friendly’.

Let me start with a couple of definitions.

Google Developers defines the term ‘mobile-friendly’:

The desktop version of a website might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. The version that’s not mobile-friendly requires the user to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Users find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site. Alternatively, the mobile-friendly version is readable and immediately usable.

They use the image below to illustrate the point.

JACI BURNS IMAGE 1 FOR mobile unfriendly

‘Mobile-friendly’, otherwise known as ‘mobile-optimised’, websites are designed to be scalable, fluid, and in the best cases, responsive.

Now, as a strategy, ‘mobile-first’ goes one step further:

  • It assumes smartphones, tablets and task-specific apps are our primary tools,
  • it recognises that we move freely between devices and that each device has a specific role, and
  • it requires a deep understanding of the consumer to facilitate the creation of optimal content and user interface to meet the consumer’s need for each device, context, occasion and experience.

Because I work with ‘smart companies’ (professional services firms and organisations in other technical or knowledge-intensive sectors), I was keen to test just how ‘mobile-first’-ready Australia’s ‘smart companies’ are.

Using the 2014 BRW Client Choice Awards winners, and 2015 Financial Review Client Choice Awards shortlist as our sample, we discovered 60% of Australia’s ‘leading’ professional services firms do not even have mobile-optimised websites (see table below).

Yes, the sample is small but it also represents arguably the most client-focused firms across all major categories of the professional services sector. On that basis, one might reasonably expect the industry figure to be even higher.

This isolated indicator signals this sector is not keeping pace. In my next blog I will discuss predictions for video and examine how prepared our sample is for the multi-screen world.

Meanwhile, check out Google Developers to test whether your website is ‘mobile-friendly’.Professional services jaci burns mobile unfriendly chart

Jacqueline Burns

Jacqueline (Jaci) Burns is managing director of Market Expertise, a B2B agency which specialises in the marketing of services, solutions and intangible products. Based in Sydney, Market Expertise works with ‘smart companies’, both Australian and international, from the financial services, professional services, technology and knowledge sectors.

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