These days, more and more people are making their website more accessible to users by making it compatible with mobile devices. With the use of smart phones continuously on the rise (and, therefore, the number of people browsing the net whilst on the go), this is becoming increasingly important. What have we learnt, however, from the web designs that have already gone mobile? Whilst these lessons can help us when creating mobile websites in the future, they could also change the way that we design in general.
- Simplified Navigation
- Shrink Content
- No Gimmicks
Think about a website that you have recently visited on a laptop and on your mobile phone – was there a drastic difference in the navigation? In many cases, the most complex and involved desktop navigation system can be narrowed down to between two and four buttons on a mobile web design. Often, this is because people searching on the go will have very different needs to those searching from their own homes – the elements that make it onto a mobile design are distinctly more task-orientated.
Going back to a website that you recently visited on both types of devices, how did the content differ? In all likelihood, there was considerably less content on the web design that was created for the mobile device. In some sections, it’s likely that chunks of content were removed altogether. This has caused many people to question how necessary the content was to begin with, but it is important to keep in mind that these devices are targeting very different users.
Whilst there is a time and a place for gimmicks on the internet, the fact that they do not feature in mobile web design at all really just proves that they don’t serve a real purpose. Some of the gimmicks that frequently appear on main websites but are noticeably lacking from those that are designed for mobile devices include: splash screens, unusual navigation, animations and interactivity that lacks purpose, unusual layouts, and sections that can be scrolled individually.
Whilst these are only some of the lessons that have come out of past web designs for mobile devices, they are the ones that could easily be incorporated into websites that are designed for use on desktop and laptop computers. Whilst it may be necessary to include additional content and a few gimmicks from a marketing perspective, cutting down on fluff wherever possible is likely to give your users the best experience possible.