Designing for Mobile.

Web use on mobile devices is increasing all the time. The headline in 2014 was that mobile use was set to overtake use from fixed devices. In 2015 we’re now past the tipping point with up to 60% of all web use now coming from mobile devices. With these stats it’s pretty obvious that designing for mobile is an important part of any web strategy.

Google is now including ‘mobile friendly’ labels in search results. As of 21st April they’re even demoting websites that aren’t optimised for mobile users in search results.

If it wasn’t already obvious, this all means that the mobile web is a pretty big deal.

It seems, though, that many web designers see designing for mobile as a simple case of turning a multi-column layout into a single column layout and this is kind of missing the point.

How someone uses a website and what they want to do whilst they’re on it will vary depending on the device they’re using and the environment they’re in.

Like What?

An example of this is a website giving visitors to an area information about things to do. Someone accessing the website on a fixed device will likely be happy to browse lots of information and read in-depth articles. They’ll be prepared to spend more time on the website and be willing to complete longer processes.

Someone who is on the move will be interested in finding a specific piece of information as quickly as possible. Secondary content and features that aren’t essential to the main tasks users are trying to complete will create unnecessary distractions and this has a negative impact on usability.

Designing for Mobile – The Right Way

To create a good experience, a web designer should be thinking about how the website will be used on different devices. Even if the end goal for mobile and desktop users is the same, the way in which it is achieved could be quite different.

The mobile view of a website won’t usually need to include all the features that the desktop version does. Removing secondary features and content can make a big difference to user experience.

It’s not just a case of hiding a load of elements. The limitations of smaller screens is also a consideration. Our approach is to focus on what the user is trying to achieve and emphasise important the elements that they will find useful. The user’s journey should contain as few steps as possible and, of course, avoid dead ends.

Designing for Mobile on The Ouseburn

When we built The Ouseburn website we spent a lot of time designing for mobile. We had two goals for the website. We wanted people to be able to:

  • Plan their visit to the Ouseburn in advance
  • Quickly and easily find places near to them when they were in the area

The home page of the website is an interactive map that lets users find places to visit using search, filtering and browsing. We simplified things on mobile by removing some secondary content and placing more emphasis on the core features.

The result is a website that provides a quick and seamless experience to users who will be looking for information quickly while on the move.

See how the website looks on different screen sizes using Responsivator.

Want to Know More?

Want to know more about designing for mobile and how our experience could benefit your brand? Get in touch with us and arrange to come in for a chat – we’d love to help.

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