Fundamental Mobile Website Design
It does not matter how fast you dedicated server hosting may be if your website is not designed to load quickly on a mobile device. There are some simple and easy rules to designing for smartphones and tablets to help speed up loading times and simplifying the navigation process for any browser or shopper. As mobile devices are sure to increase in number in coming years they will play a more and more important factor in your sales and global Internet reach.
Since the screen size is smaller than on a stationary computer or laptop, the website design will need to take into account of this smaller real estate. Again, the dedicated server hosting may be just fine, but there is a limit to what a dedicated server can do before it is in the hands of the web designer and mobile browser.
“Simplifying the navigation system is key to a fluid browser experience.”
It’s Just Better to be Single
Since it will not be possible to include all links in the main navigation bar intact, a simple but effective solution is to group links together into main links that will then take the visitor to those links eventually, albeit it with a few more taps on the screen. This is also known as a single column or collapsing column layout. As the column will run down the small narrow screen, the links will be clearly visible to take the visitor to other parts of the site. Again, simplifying this process is key to making sure not to clutter the website with useless objects, texts and links or busy backgrounds and images causing a needless distraction and slowing down the site loading time.
Don’t Click When You Can Tap
Since these mobile devices will not be using a mouse pointer, it is important to keep in mind the “tapping over the clicking” feature. Keeping this in mind, is there enough white space on the page for the tap and zoom feature? Without being able to tap and zoom, navigation and usability will definitely cause some difficulty. Screen size will at some point or another become a bit of a problem for reading lots of text, so a tap and zoom feature will be essential and should be easy and fluid. Avoid any small links or text that make it difficult to read and tap a link with a finger since a small mouse pointer is nonexistent here. If finger tapping becomes too difficult the navigation suffers and you risk visitors leaving your site. It is not essential to have all the information on one page, so breaking up the information into several pages, creates more space and less clutter.
Be Quick or Be Gone
It is difficult to overstate, that loading times are essential to a good visitor experience. It is not uncommon to hear of mobile users always “on the go” and limited time. This applies to mobile website design at all times. Make sure then, that your dedicated server hosting provider is running on a fast reliable network and has great uptime numbers to help you achieve this speed. It is also important to note that complex websites with scripts, flash, animation, etc may not load properly if at all on mobile devices. The simpler the site, the faster it will load on virtually any device.
What’s Your Message Here?
It is crucial to remember what you are saying as an overall theme with your mobile design which can be different from your full website.
“A mobile audience is different than a stationary computer audience.”
You may just want to get the basic message across as to your services or products, or maybe you are designing a website that complements your main site that can be used as a quick reference or it could simply be a “we are located here” mobile design that gets the message across in those basic terms. Why do you think users are accessing certain mobile sites via their smartphones and not computers? Are you offering what they are looking for? Google Analytics is one tool that can help with pinpointing where your visitors originate and even what sections of your site they are browsing.
Last but not least, make sure you can make adjustments to your mobile site design to keep up with any trends and changes from mobile visitors to your site. Not being able to make tweaks here and there can leave you trailing behind the rest of the “on the go” crowd.