Professional services firms ‘unfriendly’ towards mobile

Professional services firms must accept their audience is on the move

Since early 2014, mobile internet use has exceeded desktop internet browsing. Blogging via the Huffington Post, 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 per cent 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.

 and uses the image below to illustrate the point.

‘Mobile-friendly’, otherwise known as ‘mobile-optimised’, websites have been designed to be scaleable, 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.

  • 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 Market Expertise develops and executes content marketing strategies for what we like to call ‘smart companies’ (professional services firms and organisations in other technical or knowledge-intensive sectors), we were naturally 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 per cent of Australia’s ‘leading’ professional services firms do not even have mobile-optimised websites (see Table below).

Yes, our 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 our next blog I will discuss predictions for video and examine how prepared the same sample is for the multi-screen world.

Meanwhile, check out Google Developers to test whether your website is ‘mobile-friendly’.