Mobile Website Design: Fool-Proof Solutions for Success
by Andrew MIllar
In our last post we discussed mobile website design pitfalls to avoid like the plague. Why? Because mobile web design is essential to your business’ long-term success. Designs which function poorly turn customers away more quickly than standing down wind from a cattle farm. Luckily, there are some design solutions which will ensure your website is optimized for desktops, smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Website Design Solution 1: Design Functionally
In the past, website templates were relatively pre-set with a standard width. Designing was a linear process which could be laid out in a picture series for clients. Smartphones, tablets, over-sized desktop screens and TVs have changed the ball game. Browser widths are not standardized.
Designs which expand and contract like a zoom lens do not function well and can be incredibly difficult to read. Instead, websites need to be designed functionally. The initial meeting with a client may involve sketching on paper, but your best bet is to quickly move to the digital world.
By using a dev-site (aka developers site) as early as possible, you will not be guessing what will and will not work.
Mobile Website Design Solution 2: Remember Each Device’s Limitations
Touch screens are pretty nifty things. Unfortunately, they are also lack the full range of tools available to the desktop user. If your website design uses techniques which are not viable to smartphone or tablet users to display information, those mobile visitors will be missing out.
If your clients are dead set on certain web design ideas, such as hover features, using a combination of a responsive and adaptive features will be beneficial. This will allow you to both load their snazzy desktop version to old school computer users and their mobile friendly version to tablet and smartphone visitors.
Mobile Website Design Solution 3: Keep Your Navigation Simple
White space is a luxury smartphones and tablets do not have. With a desktop browser design you can create a flow similar to a newspaper with catchy teasers and continual page movement.
Smartphones and tablets need to a much more simple layout. You want to use clear options, presented in short, reader-friendly text that leads to an easy opt-in.
Mobile Website Design Solution 4: Test. Test. Test.
Keep testing. We repeat – TEST! The great wide web is always changing. Smartphone and tablet screen sizes vary widely, as do their pixel resolution. Creating a site which works on iPads and iPhones, does not ensure it will work on Androids and Surface tablets. Nor does it guarantee your mobile website design will be optimized for the latest round of Apple updates.
To ensure your website is providing the best possible user experience, keep testing it. This is one of the reasons having a dev-site is so important. It allows you to test your design online privately without sharing it to the world at large.
Mobile Website Design Solutions 5: Keep Opt-In Forms Short
You may want all kinds of information from visitors, but asking mobile users to fill out long forms on their smartphones and tablets will make you quickly lose prospects. Heck, those mobile devices have small screens and tiny keyboards. How apt are you to fill out a long form when you are using one?
Instead, keep the details you are requesting as simple as possible. Perhaps just a name and e-mail address. You can always request more information after you have formed a relationship with them through continued engagement.