Five rules for building a mobile site (part 2 of 2)
10 July 2014
The Holy Grail in web design is providing your visitors with a positive and consistent digital experience – regardless of whether they’re using their PC, tablet or phone. Given the variety of screen sizes, this is can be a challenge – but not impossible if you keep these five tips in mind.
- It’s still the same website. Regardless of which device visitors are using, it should be obvious they’re still on the same site. It’s critical you convey a consistent visual design (same colours, fonts and key elements) and content. Yes, the content may need to be whittled down, but the critical information should be available on all devices. (Editing content to the bare essentials is an interesting exercise – you may find you’ll end up culling pages from your full site too.) Use Google Analytics to determine which pages are the most popular and mobile-worthy.
- Thumb-friendly navigation. The flow of information should match what appears on your full website, but will need to accommodate finger-pads. This could mean introducing tabs, accordion style navigation (which unfolds when selected and folds back up when not in use), allowing for scrolling down (sideways is awkward), or buttons big enough to achieve finger-tap accuracy. Likewise, typing is more awkward on a screen, so provide drop down options where possible.
- Accommodate connectivity issues. Mobile devices can’t always rely on fast and dependable internet connection, meaning sometimes pages will take longer to load. If your navigation doesn’t change colour or somehow provide feedback that a screen tap has been registered, visitors may end up furiously tapping and ending up on the wrong page. Try to avoid the use of large images or complicated graphics that will also affect site download speed.
- Add mobile-specific features. Mobile sites aren’t just a static information portal - they also provide opportunities to add mobile-specific features. For example, your street address can become a link to help visitors find your office and your phone number could be a ‘click to call’.
- Testing, testing, testing. Test your website on various devices (and using different web browsers). Spin your phone so you can see the screen horizontally and vertically. Can you still read the text? Are the graphs and images still legible? These are key elements of a user-friendly mobile site.
Technology is rapidly evolving, so ongoing testing is your only means of ensuring your mobile site works whatever device visitors are using to view your site.
For further information, read 'One size doesn't fit all - why your site should go mobile' or visit:
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