Design Best Practices for Mobile

Whether we like it or not, ‘Mobilegeddon’, the mobile revolution, is here, and if you happen to fall behind with the trends, your website is sure to be penalised. As Google’s latest update continues to roll out, sites that are mobile-friendly receive positive rankings while those that lack mobile-compatibility are lambasted, leaving designers with months in which to reflect on their mistakes and rectify as Google sees fit.

The question remains, how does one keep up with the requirements of 'Mobilegeddon' to ensure that their website remains a success? Not only do mobile sites need to contain fresh and unique content, but they are also required to make use of mobile-specific features in smart and interesting ways. If your site is feeling the weight of Google Panda 4.2 and you want to prevent a ramshackle of faults and disappointing rankings, it may be time to review your mobile compatibility. Here is what you need to know about design best practice for mobile capability:

The Truth about Mobile

Over the last three years, we’ve seen a massive climb in mobile usage – a 40% increase, that is. In the same breath, desktop usage has fallen from a resilient 90% to that of 60%, a clear indication that, when it comes to browsing the internet, convenience (in the palm of your hand) is a major influencer. However, converting your website into one that is mobile-compatible is not simply a case of down-scaling and adding a handful of responsive elements to the site. Mobile-friendly sites require a fair amount of attention and research to ensure that they offer users a memorable experience. It is also important to remember that Google will rank your site according to the level of best practice that your site is able to meet.

Best Practice: What You Need to Implement

1. Clear, unique content: When using a mobile device, users are often in a hurry to find information. Whether they are looking for a product description, a review or would like to know what your site is about, it is important to keep the content clear and unique. Do away with clutter and with unnecessary introductions. If your mobile site is filled with content that is not relevant or useful, users will ultimately turn away from using your portal.

2. Simplify navigation: Before you alter your menu and navigation set-up, it is important to remember that a desktop has more space in which to add menu and navigation options. However, a mobile device is both smaller and has less space in which a curser can maneuver. Keep your navigation and menu options simple – think fingertips instead of cursers, smaller screen sizes and large, simple menu icons or drop down tabs.

3. Embrace fluidity: Odd bits and bobs, staggered design elements and a mobile site that appears warped on different screen sizes is not professional or user-friendly. It is important to keep your mobile design fluid, clean and flexible. If your site does not suit the dimensions of one mobile device, it will come across as unprofessional and unreliable.

4. ‘Touch’ is important: Mobile devices do not have the capacity for large keyboards or a mouse - the screen acts as both, which is why it is important to design your mobile site for touch capability. You will need to account for various finger sizes and the multiple ways in which pressure is applied to a screen. Keep in mind that different devices respond differently which is why you will also need to consider the fact that buttons and elements need to be easily touched without overlapping or selecting neighbouring elements.

5. Lose the images: Large, high resolution images work well for desktop computers that have various supporting programs installed. However, it is important to think about the time it takes for an image to download and the space it occupies. Scale down on images and, if your site allows, do away with most to ensure the success of your mobile-friendly site.

6. Make the most of mobile features: Equipped with various features that are not available on desktop computers, mobile browsing is, furthermore, enriched. To ensure that your site receives a positive review from its users, you will need to build your site around various mobile features. Explore the GPS, make use of a mobile device’s ability to call, and simplify social media sharing through the existing features of the phone.

Whether you’re looking to update your website or are looking to do a complete overhaul, be sure to take mobile capability into serious consideration. After all, without it, Google renders our sites (and therefore our enterprise) inadequate. Be sure to maintain and boost positive rankings and rapport through constructive, innovative and fresh, mobile-friendly updates.

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