Mobile Website Design Best Practices

Mobile Website Design Best Practices

There’s been an unbelievable explosion of user adoption within mobile devices that has revolutionized the way we use the web. Despite the mobile web following similar principles to the design of websites there are still many notable differences. Mobile device networks don’t run at the same speed as broadband devices and there are multiple ways mobile web designs are displayed for example through touch screens and netbooks.

The growing trend of mobile design is undoubtedly still in development but one thing’s for sure which is that its an inevitable turn in the profession of people who make and run websites, and that it’s a growing trend that is in constant development.

Regardless of the way you choose to create your mobile website there are still many best practices that should be applied to all mobile websites. Here’s a guide that should help you to understand the growing trend of mobile design better:

Design Delivery: The way the experience is delivered is a key influencer that needs to be established early on in the mobile development process. Simplicity is key, it makes sense that the more information you try to include into a small space, the harder it becomes to use and the more the user will have to scroll down the page – use a single column layout to avoid this issue.

Delivery Method: The delivery method can often be compromised due to the functionality and set up of various devices. For desktop-based web designs, there is one markup language to deal with: HTML. But on the Mobile Web, there is also WML and then platforms such as iOS for Apple devices and Android for Android devices.

Adapting a Web Design to Support Mobile Devices: There are a few options here, one being that you can push a site to the Mobile Web by modifying the existing code and design to work well on mobile devices, or otherwise building them from scratch, tailor made for the individual mobile device of choice. If you use CSS3 its possible to rescale the dimensions of the layout again, depending on which mobile device you choose to use.

Redirecting Users to a Mobile Site: This is a better format for delivery because you can create an experience specifically for your mobile users without taking away from the experience of desktop users.

Layout Essentials: Problems may arise in how to design the layout on mobile devices as there are many shapes, sizes, levels of quality, resolution varieties, and the support of zooming/scroll content which all play an important role in different devices. Scrolling on mobile devices for example is more difficult because of the small screen size. The goal however remains that it is user-friendly and minimizes the complexity for the user so they can find what they’re looking for, quickly and efficiently.

Size of Navigation and Clickable Objects: this is a problem with touchscreen mobile devices. Ensure your mobile layout has large and easy to press links and clickable objects in order to streamline the experience. The more someone has to click to achieve an action makes the task more laborious and less time-efficient so its always better to reduce this as much as possible without it being too confusing for the user.

Content Design: this is the most costly component but knowing how to reduce excess images, text and media can be the difference between a 50KB design and a 2MB layout of crippling intensity.

Text Content & Images: This is the most important role! Mobile web content is different to traditional web content. Hide unnecessary text or images to improve readability. Large CSS images or byte-heavy infographics can cause problems so unnecessary visual embellishments certainly needs to have a good clean up. If you reduce the resolution and dimensions of your images this can also decrease bandwidth consumption.

Testing: Due to mobile devices being used by corporations to gain the competitive advantage its up to the traditional use of common sense to make sure you’re reaching the widest possible audience and can access the site in a way that’s functional and enjoyable.

To summarise, a lot is down to common sense and the user-friendly nature of how you choose to develop your mobile web experience. However, until mobile network infrastructure improves and connectivity is widely available — simple, small and speedy are the three main principles you should take into account above all.