Web Development: Mobile-Friendly Website Design
Unfortunately, the fact that your website can be accessed from a smartphone does not make it mobile-friendly. Our experienced mobile designers and developers have compiled useful tips that will help you provide your customers with an amazing mobile experience. Statistics shows that the number of smartphone users has already surpassed 2 billion and has been steadily growing over the years. By the next year, it is expected to rise 13%. So it is easy to calculate that by the end of 2017, around 2.26 billion people around the globe will be using smartphones regularly.
WHY MOBILE OPTIMISATION IS CRUCIAL
And guess what, all these billions of people do not just use their devices to make phone calls and send messages. They use them to browse the Internet for mobile friendly content and useful information, chat with their friends on social networks, do the shopping and make purchases. Therefore, you cannot afford your website not to be optimised for mobile devices - just imagine how many potential customers you might lose. But what exactly does “mobile website optimisation” mean? Our experts have shared their experience and opinion on the matter and come up with the following advises on how to make your website mobile-friendly.
RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DESIGN
Our design and development specialists believe that it is essential to use responsive website design when developing a website. A responsively-designed site adjusts to all display sizes, ensuring that every user can comfortably read and view the content. You do not have to build a new version of your site for every specific device - responsive website is based on one single source code, which provides for a great user experience and search engine visibility, as Google search engine gives preference to mobile-friendly websites.
The Advantages Of The Development Of Mobile Friendly Website
You do not need a separate mobile website that smartphone users will be redirected to., Responsive is a unified approach to web development that allows you to create a similar experience for the user whether they enter the website from a desktop computer, a smartphone or a tablet.
The primary goal is to ensure the development of a mobile friendly website that the Internet users can browse using only their one finger. Make sure that the website is navigable with a thumb or an index finger and does not require any pinching. Needless to say, the website should be designed so that the user can navigate it with one hand in which they hold the device. If the user has an urge to zoom the content, it means that it is not well optimised for the specific display size, is hard to read or too small to be comfortably viewed.
Button Size Optimisation
Most modern-day mobile devices are fit with touch screens, so it is important to design all buttons and menus to be easily clicked by fingers, even the fattest ones. There should be no misplaced clicks, that is why it is not enough to simply resize the screens through CSS. Instead, you should design every element to be big enough and easily selectable by the users. According to statistics, the average size of an adult index finger is 15 to 20 mm, which corresponds to 45 to 55 pixels of screen space approximately. If you stick to these measures, all targets will be easily selectable and the users will not experience any accidental clicks when browsing your website via mobile.
IT IS ALL ABOUT SIMPLICITY
Always keep the design as simple as possible. A clean and intuitive design will make the customers spend more time on your website and visit it again. Keep in mind that the first seconds of user experience are all-important - the customer gets the first impression of your business and decides whether to continue further or escape the website and go to your competitors. This rule is true for all devices, but is particularly important for smartphones. The excess of features and heavyweight content like images and videos can significantly impact the website’s load speed and distract the visitor’s attention from the information they have been looking for. If graphic content is essential for your business identity, try to use smaller pictures in order to cut the wait time for your customers.
KEEP CONTENT SHORT AND PRECISE
Our development company doubts that anybody wants to read an endless piece of news or look for necessary information on a website cluttered with disparate content. So try to tell your stories in a few words. Do not get obsessed with blog posts, news and other texts. Just imagine how your extensive piece of writing will look on a small screen in a large font - it will seem endless - so try to minimize the amount of words if you do not want to scare mobile users away. These people are mostly on the go and they want to quickly scroll through your content, therefore, it is better to abbreviate the texts you post on the desktop version of your websites to adjust them to smaller displays.
USE ICONS AND INCREASE SPEED
Speaking of the development of a mobile friendly website, icons are far more convenient than words. If you do not want your website to look cluttered, replace words with standard mobile icons where possible, for example, use symbols to write a message, share a post or tap to call. These symbols make the users feel that your online platform is fully optimised for mobile. Another crucial criteria for any professionally developed mobile friendly website is load speed. The mobile Internet is generally slower than the cable-powered connection, even if you use the most advanced technologies like LTE. One more major problem, particularly widespread in the UK, is the lack of 4G coverage.
Shrink The Files
So you have to pay extra attention to file sizes, especially videos, if you wish to keep them on the mobile version of your website. The best solution is to use media queries that will adjust the media files, for example, large resolution images, for mobile browsers. Mobile device resolutions and image aspect ratios can significantly vary - they range from 240 x 320 to 1440 x 2560. To recognise the most popular screen sizes- have a look at your Google Analytics traffic flow.
Reduce Load Time
Mobile devices without the LTE technology have considerably slower download speeds as opposed to more advanced smartphones and tablets and that many mobile Internet users still pay for bandwidth use. With this in mind, it is clear that you should shrink and crop the images to optimise them for different display sizes and Internet speeds. This can save a lot of time and money for your customers, significantly reducing load time and offering excellent online experience.
KEEP THE CONTACT INFO VISIBLE
Keep your mobile-friendly website in line with its purpose - what your customers will use it for? Mobile users often search for:
- working hours
- telephone number
- reservation form
- nearest shop locations
Do not make your customers roam about the pages, looking for this basic contact info - make it as visible and accessible as possible.
USE VIDEO CONTENT
Videos are must-have content for any mobile website, but it does not mean you should pack your site with long heavyweight videos - use them wisely. Statistics demonstrates, that consumers browsing the Internet via mobile devices are three times more likely to watch a video is they stumble upon one as compared to desktop users. There many video technologies that you can use to ensure fast loading speed and great mobile experience. If you want your media player to run across most smartphones, use a player based on HTML5. Moreover, make sure that the player is lightweight, in other words, check that it does not consume too much bandwidth and processing resources to guarantee fast load times and overall efficiency of your mobile site.
DESIGN FORMS FOR MOBILE
Think of the basic information consumers need to enter to contact a lead. Reduce the number and the size of form fields to the minimum and take advantage of modern-day mobile technologies that can be automatically retrieved from user’s devices. For instance, use customer’s geolocation instead of asking them to enter their city, street and ZIP code. Save your client’s efforts.
As we have already mentioned, do not forget that mobile devices have enormous capabilities and are equipped with all the latest technologies. For example, businesses can track consumers’ location to suggest the nearest shops, give directions, allow visitors to check product availability, offer discounts, provide the opportunity to pay in different currencies and leave user reviews on social platforms.