If you’re a mobile user (and most of us are), no doubt you have stumbled across a website that just doesn’t work on the small screen. Perhaps the font was the incorrect size, or menus dominated the user interface. Maybe the links were too small for your fingers to tap on and so you gave up and took your business elsewhere.
Now, imagine if that was how potential customers were responding to your site. Because unless you have optimised your desktop site for mobile, this has likely been their experience. How many potential sales have you missed out on because customers have found your mobile website simply unusable?
Perhaps it’s best not to dwell on the past. The good news is that Newpath Web is here to help. As a leading provider of mobile web design in Melbourne, our team can apply their knowledge and skills to capitalise on your mobile traffic, leading to increased sales and customers through your doors.
Mobile design is an industry in itself, completely separate from the work of web developers. When you think about it, this makes sense — the experience of browsing on a mobile device is radically different from that of a laptop or PC.
It’s important to note, too, that ‘mobile design’ is different to mobile app development. An app is a program that is specifically downloaded via the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android). A mobile site, on the other hand, is accessed via a regular web browser on your smartphone.
This is a point that trips many people up. An app is not the only way of accessing online content via your phone. Many businesses incorrectly assume that there is no need for them to consider mobile design, as they have no intention of building a mobile app. In reality, mobile design is one of the most important digital considerations, both from the perspective of the end-user and as it pertains to your SEO strategy.
For most business owners, the challenge lies in adapting a desktop website to mobile. After all, a desktop is the traditional platform for accessing the online world.
However, for those that are developing a brand new website, experts often recommend starting with the mobile version. Desktop sites tend to be far more powerful and have added capabilities — it’s far easier (and more exciting) to add features rather than being forced to backtrack and remove.
With that in mind, here are a few of the key considerations that must be taken into account when designing for both small and large screens:
Let’s start with the easy one — screen size. It’s fairly self explanatory that a mobile screen is smaller than a desktop. However, what difference does this have on design?
Mobile sites must conserve space wherever possible, as too many features will leave the screen feeling overcrowded. This is typically achieved through smart use of menus and a minimalistic aesthetic style. It’s important to note, too, that mobile sites can operate via both horizontal and landscape orientation. For designers, this is often a consideration that is overlooked and can severely impact the overall user experience.
Desktop sites, on the other hand, have the luxury of a wide screen to play around with. This generally makes it easier for users to discover new site elements as headers and navigation bars can remain ‘fixed’ rather than relying on the user to click and explore.
Touch screens were once a novelty. Now, thanks to the widespread proliferation of smartphones and tablets, they are considered to be the norm.
While developing a mobile website, it’s important to keep in mind the physical interactivity options available to you. Users can swipe, tap, type, and even shake, to bring about a wide range of functional reactions.
A desktop site is slightly more restricted, relying heavily on the traditional mouse and keyboard. However, a desktop site supports mouse ‘hovering’, which can add an extra layer of interactivity.
Menus — we don’t often realise it, but they can make or break user experience. Clever use of menus and headings create added space and enable the user to navigate in an intuitive sense. Clunky menus, on the other hand, can completely detract from the content, products, and services offered by a website.
On a desktop site, columns can be arranged vertically, horizontally, in columns, or in rows. It’s really up to the preference of the designer, enabling hundreds of different options from a UX perspective.
Conversely, mobile sites depend largely upon a user scrolling through a site to locate the content they need.The ‘hamburger’ menu (the icon that features three stacked horizontal lines and looks like a hamburger) is also a popular feature of mobile sites, enabling a user to bring up and dismiss a menu as is required.
While sites should be designed for both desktop and mobile, the two platforms are not interchangeable. Rather, each respective system has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to user experience.
A desktop site enables the user to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. It’s far easier to switch between tabs on a desktop than it is a mobile and the larger screen size makes some tasks — such as coding — far easier.
Mobile, on the other hand, has the capacity to harness innovative and emerging forms of technology to great effect — for example, virtual reality.
As demonstrated, designing for a mobile site is not as simple as resizing a few images. It takes planning and experience to develop a mobile site that will engage and inspire users.
As a leading team providing mobile web design in Melbourne, Newpath Web has the skills and knowledge to convey your products and services on the small screen. Our team has built mobile sites for companies of all shapes and sizes and across all industries. Our mobile-first approach ensures that your content is appropriately optimised to create an unparalleled user experience. Contact us today to find out more.