Mobile Design: How to Wow Them on the Small Screen
- Ken Myers
- October 17, 2013
With more people making the leap to smartphones, mobile websites are becoming increasingly important for businesses to generate interest and make sales. Having the ability to create mobile websites that are user-friendly, on point and present clean design is becoming a necessary skill in the world of design. Don’t be fooled by the seeming simplicity of mobile sites though; designing a fantastic mobile site takes some work. You can get started perfecting this skill by following these tips:
Focus on the Message
The screen constraints of mobile devices mean that focusing on the message is imperative when developinga mobile site. While websites may have the luxury of displaying multiple messages, mobile sites need to pick a single message and focus on it completely. Not only will this clear clutter, it will also direct users to the exact information they need, ensuring a good mobile experience. Distill the company message and ask why the user is accessing the mobile site. For instance, retail stores would want to focus on directions and hours, while restaurants may want to direct customers to an ordering system. Make the message tight and applicable.
Like the company website or literature, branding is paramount to increasing brand awareness and presenting a cohesive image to the public. While a mobile site should be stripped down to the bare necessities, it should still present a strong branding presence in the form of colors and logos. A simple incorporation of company colors into the background of the mobile site and a small, discrete logo on the bottom of the screen is enough to create a uniform branded site.
Use One Column Design
While traditional websites benefit from breaking information up into multiple columns, this approach creates confusion on mobile websites. Multi-column design on mobile sites looks cluttered and unsophisticated. Creating a single column of information makes mobile sites more readable and information more accessible to users. By utilizing all the vertical space, information relay to the user is maximized. Create a single column of information when creating a mobile website for a clean, clear site.
Cater to Touch Screens
Though cell phones with trackballs and directional keys are simpler to design for, don’t forget about touch screen users. Touch screen smartphones accounted for 75% of smartphone users in 2010, and that number continues to grow. Creating a touch-friendly website is integral to user satisfaction. Use one column design and create space between links for easy differentiation. If the website is presenting multiple headings, keep them clear and differentiated by using a drop down menu or a start screen to direct users to the specific area of the mobile site they wish to visit.
Make it Functional
Functionally, mobile sites are very different from Internet websites. Mobile sites are used by people on the go who are searching for quick information. Make sure your mobile site fulfills this requirement. Phone numbers displayed on the site should be called simply by clicking the highlighted number. When visiting a page with directions, create an easy link to navigation. Utilize GPS capabilities by providing nearby attractions or sites. Enhance functional features to create a great user experience.
Don’t be Afraid of Innovation
Mobile technology is a constantly evolving beast. QR codes are only the most recent trend to pop up in marketing campaigns and business ads. Keep up to date on new innovations and trends with mobile technology to keep your mobile site current. Linking the mobile site to other campaigns is a great idea to increase brand awareness and heighten customer experience.
Mobile sites are not difficult to create, but creating an effective mobile site that draws in the user and encourages repeat use is quite a bit more difficult. Balancing simple design with new ideas and pertinent information will create a mobile site that positively influences customers and businesses alike. Learning how to design a stunning mobile site will increase future business and nurture an important skill in this mobile design landscape.
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.
Image Credit: Richard Hughes
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