Best practice for mobile web design – what you need to know

Speak to any web design or digital marketing specialist nowadays and they will have one crucial piece of advice for you – optimise for mobile. We all know that the popularity of smartphones and tablets is not simply a passing trend, but a new way to access and engage with the online world.

So, you know that you need to get on board with the mobile revolution, optimising the design of your website to suit smaller screens and new way of interacting with technology. But how exactly do you do this? What changes do you need to make to a standard website, displayed on a desktop or laptop, to keep mobile users happy?

As a starting point, let’s look at a few best practice points for mobile web design:

  1. Make sure everything loads very, very quickly. This means that you need to ditch anything unnecessary, including high resolution images, and check that your hosting is up to scratch. Mobile users want access to content immediately, and they won’t stick around to wait for a page to load – they’ll be off to a competitor’s website in the blink of an eye.
  2. Make navigation simple. Stick to large buttons, simple menus and an interface that is easy to understand and use. Your mobile site doesn’t need as many pages, menus or as much content as your standard website, and users will appreciate being able to access what they need quickly and easily.
  3. De-clutter back to the bare bones. Think about what you want to get across to visitors accessing your website on a mobile device – what is it that you want them to do during their visit? Strip everything else away so that your message is clear, concise and strong – and of course, so that your site is easy to navigate and quick to load. It’s all about streamlining to suit the new medium.
  4. Remember that touch is important. This is one of the biggest differences between websites viewed on smartphones compared to laptops – mobile devices have touch capabilities that you need to make use of. Make sure your ‘clickables’ are large and nicely spaced, and make use of other touch features like swiping through images or pinching to zoom out or in.
  5. Explore other mobile features. What makes a good mobile site? It’s definitely not one that feels like a standard site hastily adjusted to fit – instead, it should feel like one that is in harmony with the technology and the smaller screen size, like it’s been specially designed. With this in mind, explore how your mobile-friendly website can make use of other features such as GPS, social media sharing and the ability to make calls.

What else do you think is important in a well-designed mobile website? Do you think it’s worth going one step further and designing a custom app for your business and its customers? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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