Technology October 13, 2016 Last updated October 4th, 2016 206 Reads share

Keys to Designing a Great Website for Mobile Devices

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Ever since the introduction of the smart phone on the market in 2007, there has been a great deal of change and innovation that has rapidly improved digital experiences. Mobile technology seems to have new things to offer on practically a daily basis.

Nowadays, there are a great number of marvelous features and applications that you can use on your mobile phone. They enable you to engage in business as well as complete other tasks or just have fun, all with the tip of your finger. This is, in part, because companies from around the world have embraced mobile and changed their way of doing things to keep up with trends in the marketplace. They have chosen to take advantage of what technology has to offer.

If you remember the mid to late 1990s, companies then started hiring website experts to create websites for them. These were often simple websites with limited functionality. Over the years since that time, we have seen an evolution in website styles and functionality. One of the main factors that affect a business’s website right now is their consumers’ mobile use.

When you are designing your website, make sure you optimize your entire site for mobile to make it user-friendly. If the website is not compatible with mobile interfaces then it will be frustrating and there is no user who will be bothered stick with it on their mobile device. It is important that you make it convenient to use on mobile devices or you will have customers hitting the back arrow on their browser and continue looking for a business who meets their needs. Generally these days this is done through the use of a responsive website that adapts to any of the mobile devices it is displayed on.

Keep it simple

When you are designing a website for mobile, you should keep it simple. Lay it out in a way that even a layman can manage to navigate through your website successfully. You should avoid things that confuse users and do not add unnecessary information to the website.

Keep menus short and useful. Make sure you put your content high on the page and get rid of unnecessary elements that could force users to scroll excessively to view content. In short, the website should be designed for the user. Many people, even those who are fairly tech savvy, can be confused and disappointed when they come to a website and find it is difficult to use. They end up leaving without doing what they wanted when a website is complicated. It is important that you keep it simple and make is easy to use.

Optimize navigation

You should make it easy to move from one page to another in a very obvious way. The navigation should be placed in a strategic location and it should also be big enough that it’s easy to use with the touch of a finger. The navigation should also not keep shifting its position: navigation should remain in a consistent place on all pages.Remember to keep your menus down to a reasonable number of options, too many options will turn users away.

Compatibility of website across all devices

The website that you create should not be limited to working properly on smart phones only. You should design it in a way that it appears properly even if it is viewed on another kind of gadget. For instance, your site needs to look nice on smart phones, tablets and desktops/laptops of all sizes.

This enhances the usability because you can step between using your desktop and mobile devices and the website will appear the same or at least similar in a compatible way. When the appearance and presentation of the website remains consistent on a number of gadgets it makes the experience more user-friendly.

Make it easy to touch

You should design finger friendly touch targets so that the user will not have difficulty touching buttons on your website. Make call-to-action buttons mobile friendly and put them in a location where users can easily see them.Keep the number of touch elements to a minimum; this enables you to have bigger buttons that are easy to touch. Make sure you consider the space between touch elements on your website, if buttons are too close, users may accidentally touch the wrong button. You don’t want to make it hard on your users to take action.

Font size

The font size of your content should be big enough that it is easy for the user to read. You should never use a small font that requires zooming to read because the user will not have time or patience for that. You should make sure that the font will still retain a legible size even when the user is viewing your website from a small screen.

Use a friendly presentation

You should ensure that the font color and contrast with the background make your content easy to see. The background color and the font color should not look almost the same: they should have enough contrast to make the font sharp and clear.

For instance, if the background color is white, the font color should not be light blue because those two colors are too similar. Light blue is very faint and therefore it is not easy for the user to see on a white background. Remember that sometimes mobile users will turn down the brightness on their screen to save battery life so having a good contrast between text and the background is more important than ever. Don’t make style choices that get in the way of a good user experience.

Design easy to use interfaces

Most users use their thumbs to interact with their mobile device. Therefore, you should design your mobile website bearing this concept in mind. You should design finger friendly touch targets to enhance the usability of your website. Most of the features that the user will need to use frequently should be placed in an area that is easy to touch with the thumb. This will make it user-friendly and simple and it won’t require the user to hold the phone with two hands. Others, that are not frequently used, can be placed elsewhere on the screen.

Minimize typing

You should avoid fields that require the user to fill in long blocks of information by typing. Most people are discouraged by typing and therefore asking them to do a great deal of it is similar to inviting them to leave. You should minimize forms and other tabs that require information, making any form fields easy to type in. Where you can, utilize calendars or dropdowns that users can select from rather than requiring them to type.

Testing

Make sure you test on multiple devices using multiple browsers.Test and confirm every field and every aspect of your website, giving yourself a firsthand user experience. You may find that while your website looks just fine on your smart phone, it may not necessarily be performing as well on a tablet or phablet, but you won’t know if you don’t test it out. Avoid losing customers by taking the time to perform thorough testing on your website.

Final thought

When you are designing a website for mobile, you should bear in mind that you are making it for the user and thus it should remain simple and easy-to-use so users can engage with it without having to think about it.

Image: Mobility and modern telecommunication concept: macro view of tablet computer and touchscreen smartphones with colorful interfaces on laptop notebook PC

Kimber Johnson

Kimber Johnson

Kimber Johnson is the co-founder of Pacific App Design, which is a sister company of Vanity Mobile Apps and ASPEN App Design. He has worked within the web development, graphics design, mobile application development, marketing and advertising fields for over 17 years.

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