Website designers are the most creative and innovative part of the team. They build an experience which helps to convert visitors into users. A website design is more than colors, images, and code. It is a mix that gives the best possible access to functionality while adding aesthetic value. Mobile and tablet devices have changed the website experience a lot. People surf the web in offices and classrooms, play games, order t-shirts, and watch YouTube videos to name just a few examples. What impact have these small devices made on website designing? Quite a bit! Designers now prepare different versions for different device experiences. There is a mobile version for the NFL website along with smartphone apps. This is now an integral part of website design. So what are the few fundamental things you need to know before designing websites for mobile devices? Let’s take a look.
Cut down the amount of content
One thing is for sure that the content of a full fledge desktop / laptop based website will not fit the mobile device version. Therefore you need to reduce the amount of content somewhat. To fit reasonably well on mobile, you have to think about limited space and make every pixel count. Priority should be given to most important content and less important content should be removed, or at least not given the prime real estate (above-the-fold).
Single Column Layouts
Whether it’s an iPhone or iPad, single column layout always looks great on the small screen. It also reduces the zooming factor a bit. Zooming in and out may ruin the user experience. Creating single column pages will give a better look to your website on mobile devices and increase usability drastically.
Setting the Navigation bit differently
By now we have established the fact that a mobile device has less space to show. Therefore it is wise for designers to set navigation links a bit differently for the mobile devices. Consider this: a user enters into an e-commerce website (mobile version) looking for t-shirts. If your mobile website design has a single column layout, and a traditional horizontal navigation bar, the links will be very small and difficult to press with a finger or thumb. Having a big icon on the top left which when pressed slides open a drawer from the left side with the navigation listed in a vertical style is a good way to go about this and has become somewhat of a trend lately.
Minimizing Text Entry
The evolution of keyboards from 12 buttons to full QWERTY based keyboards and to then to the touch screen keyboards tells us one thing, that the users need easy ways for text entry. Small screens and small mobile devices made it difficult for users to type. Therefore if you are designing a website for mobile device try to minimize the text entry required by using different techniques. These techniques may involve using inbuilt technologies and already stored details.
Touchscreens has revolutionized the user experience, from web browsing to gaming, it has changed a lot. Most of the mobile devices are touch based these days, therefore the design of your mobile website for those devices should be touch friendly. The most important function of the mobile website is selecting what is done through tapping. This selection may be of a text, clicking on a link or playing a video. How often you end up tapping the wrong link while trying to select one of the two closely placed links on the mobile website? This is a quite common mistake, and such mistakes can be avoided by applying single column layout with few links and making sure that buttons and links are large and easy to press without making mistakes.
Using inbuilt Functionality
Many mobile devices are equipped with really handy inbuilt functionalities. For example if you select a few digits your smartphone can recognize it as a calling number and provide you an option to make a call. Website designs for the mobile devices can cash-in such inbuilt functionalities. There are many features to look out for such as using the phone’s GPS or Camera to name just a few.
According to an article published in Forbes, 58% of the people have opted for Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday this year. This trend alone can tell us how fast people are adopting the e-commerce lifestyle. Mobile devices are adding spice to this experience. With each passing day the number of smartphone users is increasing. The technology associated with these mobile devices is also evolving day by day, the designs for mobile devices must do the same.