The success of a website is directly proportional to how well you have presented information to the user and whether you have been able to make an impact on the visitor’s psyche. With the emergence of smartphones and tablets as the devices of choice, the demand for mobile websites is increasing day-by-day, as more and more people are using these devices to access the net. This in turn is changing the contours of website designing, and while the formula of success, mentioned in the first sentence remains the same, the considerations will change.
These considerations relate to the way website designers have to rethink their priorities, conceptualize the website’s look and feel and design the website to align with the interactive experience offered by modern day mobile devices.
So let’s take a look at five considerations, a focus on them, will help you design a great mobile website:
Designing for Mobile Doesn’t Mean Miniaturizing
Most newbie designers who are just sinking their teeth into the business of mobile website designing believe that designing for mobile means ‘size reduction’. They are of the opinion that all you need to do is make a miniature version of the desktop website and it will work as a mobile website; all they need to do is fit the website into the display parameters of the mobile devices, and everything will be ok.
But that’s not how it works.
Yes, designing for mobile, is all about minimizing but it’s not about rehashing the existing design of your desktop website. You will need to focus on mobilization of your design techniques rather than just shrinking the design. Do a designing rethink. Prioritize your design elements and offer only those that are a perfect fit for mobile. You resize, but not rehash or minimize.
There will be many occasions when you will find that a design element that you have placed on your desktop website, doesn’t fit into your mobile website because of space constraint. This is when you will need to do a rethink on design, so that the design quality of your mobile website is as high as that of your desktop website.
Design for Quick Understandability and Impact
How much time do visitors spend on your desktop website? Well, whatever the average time spent by your website visitors on your desktop website, they are going to spend even less time on your mobile website. Yes, whatever steps that you take to make your mobile website intuitive and responsive as possible, the ‘comfort factor’ with respect to browsing, will still be lesser than that compared to that of a desktop website.
So, you have very little time to make an impression; time, as they say, is of the essence. So, you will need to create a website that can be understood at first glance. Even desktop websites are being configured for quick scanning these days, so why not adopt the same approach for a mobile website. You must only use those elements of visual design that are able to convey information quickly. The time to view, assimilate and assess the information must be minimized as much as possible when it comes to the design of your mobile website.
Design for Ease of Association
If you are designing a mobile website, chances are that you already have a desktop website, which is being accessed by your target audience. What you can do is work towards achieving some sort of visual consistency between your desktop and mobile website. The use of the same background texture and color, same visual characterization, and infusing the mobile website with the same personality as that of its desktop version, will help draw an immediate association with your brand. After all, it’s all about the brand.
Brand visibility is not just about replicating your website for the mobile platform; it can also be accomplished by triggering the design experiences of the user. But it’s not about your desktop website alone, you can even link your mobile website with your real world footprint, as well; whatever it takes to improve the user experience of your mobile visitors must be done.
Design for Portrait and Landscape
Contextual design is not the core focus of designers creating a desktop website. But, this is of paramount importance when you are designing a website for mobile. A mobile device is something that is used on the move, typically, when the user is in the midst of a specific activity. So, you are not sure when, where, and how, your website is going to be used.
This is the reason why it needs to be designed for both the landscape and portrait orientations. More and more smartphones are being designed in a way such that they automatically adjust to the way the user is holding the device at a given point of time. This is why irrespective of how they are holding the device; your design should at no point confuse them. So, if the user starts off by accessing your website in the landscape mode, and then the orientation shifts to the landscape mode in the midst of browsing, there shouldn’t be any error.
Easy does it
Design considerations with respect to mobile have to be clearly understood and only then followed. Any and all half-baked efforts will just fall flat and won’t deliver the kind of results you are looking for. So, the fifth consideration is a bit of a general one, and asks you to not put yourself in tremendous pressure while you are designing a mobile website.
The basic fundamentals of design remain the same, and these don’t change one way or the other. You are designing a mobile website with user experience in mind and that’s about it. If you can provide your mobile website visitors with one hell of a user experience, you have got a successful website on your hands.
About the Author
Carlos is a Mobile Web Design Expert with MyFirstMobileApp.com, a leading company in the field of mobile app design and development. He has worked on diverse mobile projects like iPhone App Design and Development, each giving him newer insights into the world of mobile technology. He loves blogging about the same and you can find his write ups on various blogs and websites.