Best Practices for Mobile Web Design & Development
In the last few years, mobile usage has increased by approximately 40% whereas the use of desktop has come down from 90% to a mere 60%. This is due to the mobility our smartphones offer. If the trend continues, it will be not long when our mobile phones will upstage desktop accession. Usually the easiest way for designers to design a mobile website is to scale down desktop website and make it responsive. This is surely a poor strategy. Instead of scaling down the website, the designers need to examine the client’s business and assess the importance of mobile usage for the client’s business.
Designing responsive mobile websites is quite challenging since they come in so many variants and sizes. Here is a list of 7 best practices the designers can adopt while designing and developing mobile websites.
- Focused and clear content: People use mobiles on the go. When they are in a rush, still want the piece of news. Small mobile scenes with touch do not make navigation easier either. To design for mobile websites, the rules have to be minimal. Each page should have a central focus or point of emphasis. The key is to making the mobile experience easier for them instead of many swipe or move to next page gestures. These will be noticed easily and appreciated by mobile users and make their experience smoother.
- Keep menu and navigation simple: A drop down menu is a good option to save space on the already small mobile screens. Try avoiding multi-level menus and instead keep it simple and accessible. An individual should not go through several levels of navigation menus to find what they are looking for. Keeping the menu and navigation to minimal will keep the focus on the key message.
- Touch design: With keypad mobiles making way for touchscreen mobiles, designing needs extra level of care. The designers have to account for fingers of all shapes and sizes that are going to operate the mobiles with varying pressures. They need to make sure that the buttons, forms and other elements that require touch gestures are large enough to avoid overlapping. The evaluation of touch to your website design and taking adequate steps to incorporate is an important step.
- Fluid layouts: Many mobiles mean varying sizes and dimensions. Keep this in mind while designing websites for mobiles. A flexible and fluid layout ensures that the website displays correctly on different screen sizes. Devices are not going to work according to your fixed break pints. Look for designing fluid responsive websites that go beyond fixed break points.
- Image drop: Mobile devices mainly rely on two things – size and speed. Unnecessary images like gradients and shadows end up achieving nothing when it comes to mobile devices. Learning the basics of CSS and applying it to mobile websites is a good idea. Keep text and effects to the minimal. The fewer the images and effects the better user experience you can guarantee. This will also affect your website’s footprint and page load time.
- Minimal forms: Keeping forms small and minimal will lead to better mobile user experience. A separate form for mobile users can be incorporated that included minimal fields and just enough data to be collected. Forms that are longer than a single screen need progress bar indicating to the users how far they have come. Make scanning fields easier by including top aligned labels. This will also aid in higher number of website conversions.
- Advantage mobile features: Different mobiles have different features such as GPS and other sensors. Figuring out the usage of these features to make the mobile experience richer for your website is a good call. Adding simple features like ‘tap to call’ on the phone number on the contact age, for example, is how you can leverage mobile features. This part needs out of the box thinking on the art of the designers, thus making the usage more functional for the users.