Mobile Website Design
Need for Speed
Mobile networks can’t provide the bandwidth of a broadband Internet connection – that has to be considered in your design because speed is everything in mobile, and there’s also a cost for everything and there aren’t too many unlimited plans out there yet.
Mobile devices come in a dizzying variety of shapes and sizes with different level of quality and resolution – some best practices are needed to give a good user experience across most devices and remain thematically consistent. We can provide those best practices to you.
Some devices are touch and some non-touch – take this into account in your design process.
Testing mobile websites is more complex because of all the device variation – make sure you allow for this in your project plans.
Some proprietary technology issues and limitations need to be understood – for example Adobe’s Flash will not be useful on Apple iOS devices such iPhone and iPad (current as of January 2011).
Navigation and functionality
Navigation and functionality trade-offs are critical decisions. Designing for the small screen is non-trivial and many regular web designers fail at this. TPS-Mobile will help you create templates that are customer focused. In our view this usage based ground up design focus is crucial to success.
Standard websites are fine for browsing content and reading through material. The mobile user is typically seeking high level information, making a quick inquiry or performing a short transaction – but in all cases speed is of the essence.
Mobile sites need to load fast and the pagination must be designed for the mobile device. However, the look and feel of the mobile site needs to be consistent with the standard site and with your brand. We have a successful track record and our sites are marketplace proven. Some of the practices we encourage include:
- Reducing the text needed to get the message across – edit ruthlessly!
- Avoid scrolling side to side– horizontal scrolling is awful.
- Use color effectively – makes a great separator for sections
- Help the user with more navigation aids – back button, go to top, etc.
- Minimize the need for text input
- Save history and setting for better user experience over time
- Use lists and avoid tables
- Keep navigation simple! – no more than 3-4 links on main screens
The Mobile website vs. The App: Many business challenges can be solved with either a dedicated App or a mobile website. We do lots of both types of solutions and know the strengths and weaknesses of each. Not only are there functional considerations with this decision, but economic ones as well. For example, maybe a subscription based mobile website is better for your need than sharing revenue model distributed through an App Store.
TPS-Mobile can help you make the right decisions for your mobile website so that it will have maximum impact and take full advantage of the mobile platform capabilities.
Creating a mobile website is not a straight forward replication of your regular website on a mobile platform. Slimming down the content is definitely part of the process, but there are a number of design considerations and a requirement for considerable professional know how that makes this a specialized task for experienced resources.
You are not just minimizing the desktop site or making it fit the small screen. You are going to have to “mobilize” the site and put your content in context. We have included a ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture below just to show how you can maintain the same look and feel while still slimming down the content and easing the navigation.