If you talk about a website, then it is by default a mobile website now as more than half of the internet users are accessing it through their mobile devices only. This number is on a constant rise, and within a few more years, it may be more than 90%.
When it comes to web designing point of view, in the last few years, the mobile design has exploded exponentially, but it can be tricky for the designer to know what to do regarding mobile-friendly design. A mobile website is not just a concept of choosing between a website or an app to design, but there is a range of considerations to make in between.
To help the designers who are desperate to know the nuances of mobile website design, here we have gathered eight expert tips to consider while creating a strategy for mobile website development. Remember that here we are focusing purely on mobile website design, but not responsive design. Let’s start.
1. Define your objective by keeping future needs in mind
Devices may keep on changing, but your website objectives remain consistent. You know how iPad came into the market in 2010 and the changes it made and what had happened after Apple Watch back in 2015.
So, while thinking of a mobile website, we need to do as much as possible by keeping in mind the changes in a year or two rather than ending up in need to completely redesign the site. So, define the short term and long term objectives and consider investing in a website which serves both.
2. Know the target audience
It is ideal to know what sort of devices people in your target group used to view your site to develop your mobile strategy accordingly. There are many analytical tools and research reports to help you identify this and plan. Another thing to know is how your target group people use their phone and the internet connections they tend to choose.
3. Understanding the context and tasks
At earlier times of mobile usage, there was a strong relationship between the context and tasks. There were many limitations with the mobile devices and the functions to be carried through these were limited. People used to access websites from mobile phones only if they are on the go and explicitly looking for some urgent things.
However, now mobile devices are used everywhere and for any purposes with its ability to any tasks as that of a desktop or a laptop. So, even though the context is still important, we have to focus on a set of functions any random user wants to carry out through mobile devices.
4. Avoid bespoke mobile site
It was an existing practice in the initial phase of mobile website development and the advanced technology solutions like custom building a site using CMS made it much easier. However, if possible, it is better now to avoid creating a separate mobile site. Not only this is costly and additional work, but this practice can also adversely affect your search engine rankings too by keeping bespoke websites for various devices. Building a site which works on as many devices as possible is the focus now.
5. Optimize for mobile
Just as you keep the core content same in different bespoke sites does not entirely mean that you cannot optimize your mobile site. On the other hand, you should try to optimize both the content, interactions as appropriate to make those better for touch. In fact, mobile provides a greater opportunity to create more custom-tailored experienced by the user than a desktop.
6. Adhere to the updated UI guidelines
Each OS has a unique set of UI guidelines and interaction principles which the users of those browsers are used to. If you are creating an Android application, then don’t just copy the iOS app design documentation and try to optimize it for another operating system. Learning the requirement in the context of the platform is critical when it comes to developing mobile websites.
7. Ensure fragmentation and backward compatibility
Just considering between operating systems is not enough, but you should know that each operating system has different versions and not all users will be on the most updated one. The adoption rate of newer versions varies, which is rapid for iOS compared to the slower rate of Android, which is more fragmented. So, make sure that your mobile website is not only compatible with the latest version, but maximum possible previous versions too in light of the nature of the target audience you focus.
8. Define the grid
Appropriately defining the grid and breakpoints is essential regarding mobile website designing. There are various tools and strategies to help you identify appropriate width, columns, and gutters regarding website designing for smaller screens. Sometimes, fixed width approach may be ideal, and for some others, a fluid path may be perfect. However, it can be a combination of both too based on the need in hand.
To conclude, you need to understand that considering the sheer speed with the mobile platforms are developing, the futuristic techniques which were a far cry before 12 months are perfectly fitting now. So, it is entirely okay for you to do comprehensive research to identify the most accurate technology predictions too to be incorporated into your current designing process.
Marina Thomas is a marketing and communication expert. She also serves as a content developer with many years of experience. She helps clients in long-term wealth plans. She has previously covered an extensive range of topics in her posts, including business debt consolidation and start-ups.