One content fits all sizes
On whatever device you're using to read this article, it should display in an easy-to-read format, the result of the website's ability to "respond" or adapt to the device that's accessing it and to show the content in an optimized format. For Sam Glover, having online content be responsive is "table stakes" for bar associations.
"Whatever information the bar is providing, whatever engagement it is promoting and facilitating, should be friendly on a phone, tablet or computer," says Glover, the founder and editor in chief of Lawyerist, which helps small-firm lawyers build and sustain their practices.
The vast majority of bar associations, large and small, have adapted their websites to be responsive, according to the ABA Division for Bar Services 2018 State and Local Benchmarks Survey: Membership, Administration and Finance. Ninety-one percent of integrated state bars, and 88 percent of their voluntary counterparts, feature mobile optimized sites. Local bars check in at 77 percent, according to the survey.
Having content display properly on a mobile device so it engages mobile users involves more than reformatting the words and images to fit a given screen size, says Gyi Tsakalakis, president of AttorneySync, a digital legal marketing agency.
The content itself should be designed for the mobile user, Tsakalakis says; people who are accessing the content from their mobile device have different expectations than they might if they were on the desktop.
"If you're commuting, or at lunch, or at a motion hearing waiting and just thumbing through your phone, the time you have to consume content tends to be a little shorter,” he explains. “Make sure you can grab their attention quickly. They can bookmark it or save it for later."
How fast pages load on a mobile device is a key factor. "People on a mobile device don't always have the same speed connection as they might if they are plugged in at work,” Tsakalakis says. “Pages need to load really fast, usually in about a second."
Tsakalakis and Glover agree that it's not necessary to have two different versions of your website, as long as you've designed the mobile and desktop portions with the understanding of the likely mindset of the person accessing them.