Best (and Basic) Practices of Mobile Web Design

With the plethora of smartphones, mobile phones, and tablets available on the market today, research suggests that mobile devices will soon overtake PCs and laptops in a year. More and more,different platforms are made available for all types of consumers to access the web, even including TVs and gaming consoles. And all this in rapid-fire turnover—new models and technologies quickly coming and going like fashion trends. So much so that any website that is not mobile friendly cannot claim to be user-friendly anymore. Increasingly, web developers and designers utilize fluid layouts allowing users to browse across different platforms.

The crossover to mobile design is almost indispensable in this day and age but there are a few basic points to remember.

Less is more is definitely the rule of thumb. Simplify your design and carefully evaluate what the user needs to see. Skimping on graphics will not only be friendly to the eye but to bandwidth as well.

Focus on user experience. Enhance navigability. Prioritize your content. It helps to know why users would go to your website using mobile devices. What are they looking for?

Most importantly and fundamentally, know and understand your consumers. Your foray into mobile web design presents a new facet of fully understanding your own business – customer profiling will entail knowing what mobile devices they use and what browsers they would have on these devices, aside from just knowing what kinds of people patronize your brand. Knowing this, aim to optimize your website for most of these devices and at least 3 kinds of the most commonly used browsers. The biggest challenges of a mobile design include not only cross-platform, but also cross-browser optimization. And then there’s the challenge of cross-channel coordination where different platforms are used simultaneously and are expected to work in sync.

Additionally, understand your consumer types. People who access your website on mobile devices have different needs ranging from casual surfing to highly complex transactions. A casual surfer might be browsing with no particular purpose in mind during his spare time, to which you must simply ensure trouble-free content presentation. Others may be repeat customers who have used your website in the past, possibly not on a mobile platform, and are back looking for certain information. Meanwhile others may entrust you with data or need you to facilitate transactions to which you must ensure data security and system integrity. You should know which of these types your mobile website must cater to, and design accordingly.

Elaine Latonio