Is Your Utility’s Website Ready for a Mobile-First World?

It’s Time to Go Mobile for Your Utility Website

Are you reading this blog on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone? The chances are that more than half of those reading this are using their smartphone.

In 2022, mobile phones generate about 60% of all website traffic. The rise in the percentage of mobile web traffic has placed greater emphasis on the need for positive user experiences. Now, more than ever, mobile-first design is becoming the industry standard.

Being mobile-first is no longer an option. It is a necessity. A mobile-first website will help your organization appear relevant and stay ahead in the ever-changing digital world. Is your utility organization ready to adapt your website design to a mobile-first world?

Hood River Electric & Internet Co-Op took home 1st Place in the NWPPA Excellence in Communication Awards in September 2022 for their website that was built with a responsive and mobile-first approach.

Bridge the Digital Divide

The digital lives of Americans with lower and higher incomes are immensely different. Did you know that about four in ten adults with lower incomes do not have broadband services (43%) or a desktop or laptop computers (41%)? In comparison, Americans with higher household incomes are more likely to have multiple devices with access to the internet.

With fewer options for online access, Americans with lower incomes rely heavily on smartphones. According to a Pew Research Center report, smartphone owners with lower incomes were more likely to use their mobile devices when searching and applying for jobs.

Does your utility website cater to those who have limited access to the internet? Consider the top tasks of your member or customer. Oftentimes, they are visiting your utility’s website to login and pay a bill, start or stop services, browse job postings, search the service territory, or get outage, rebate, or contact information. A member or customer using a smartphone may be left having to pinch and zoom or scroll right to left in order to see all of the page content. Without a mobile-first website design, these tasks can leave families with lower incomes more likely to face obstacles while navigating your website.

Decrease the disparity in online access with responsive and adaptable website design. A mobile-first design approach has the power to bridge the digital divide by making information accessible to anyone, regardless of the type of device used.

Indiana-based G&T cooperative, Hoosier Energy launched the Why Electrify website in 2022 with an emphasis on mobile access and ease of navigation on touchscreen devices.

Emerging Design & Technology

Mobile-first design is a key factor to a successful website. Powerful’s mobile-first approach adapts to emerging technologies that continue to shape the industry. Our team of trusted web experts prioritize the mobile user, designing a site from the ground up (from a smaller phone screen to a larger desktop screen). To avoid pinching and zooming, websites are designed to adapt the content to any screen size. As a result, these responsive webpages ensure a seamless layout with readable content. Other best practices include buttons and links that are clearly accessible, actionable elements that are easily identifiable, and important information placed before page scroll. These features benefit all site visitors, including those with short-term memory disabilities, limited mobility, and low vision. Overall, mobile-first web design creates a functional and inclusive online platform. 

The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives launched a new website for Oklahoma Living. The magazine was created to serve as a voice for Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives and serve as an informational tool to co-op members across the state and surrounding areas. The new website took home a Willie Award for “Best Digital Communication” by National Electric Cooperatives Statewide Editors Association in 2022. Judges wrote, “The design and art direction behind Oklahoma Living is outstanding. Every page and feature seems considered and measured for value. The content is clearly denoted for easy navigation, sections are separated by breaks and design elements, typography and photography are used to great effect throughout to promote the brand with a singular focus. The design integration is very powerful in creating a unified platform that’s welcoming and easy for users to pass from online to physical publication without problems. The site is heavily mobile optimized as well.”

Shift to a Mobile Mindset for Utility Consumers

Mobile-first web design reinforces the utility’s commitment to accessibility. Ensure your organization adapts to new technologies by putting members and customers of your utility organization at the forefront of your design process.

Is your utility ready for a mobile-first world? Powerful’s team of trusted web experts are here to help!

Northwest Requirement Utilities launched a search-focused homepage to place search at the focal point of their design, empowering site visitors with the ability to quickly search through their library of documents.