Mobile Web Design
What is Mobile Website Design?
Mobile Web Design is the process of optimizing web experience for mobile users.
This process includes the creation of:
Mobile First Design. Traditionally, websites have been optimized for desktop users, but as browsing habits change, designers are moving towards a mobile-first design approach. This means the team starts with mobile platforms, optimizes content for the smallest screen possible, and then moves to larger screens, such as a tablet or desktops.
Responsive design. A responsive layout is a layout that changes depending on the size of the user’s device. Generally speaking, the larger a user’s screen, the more content they can see at any one time.
Search engine-friendly design. Even the most engaging content or features on your site are useless if visitors can’t find your site in search results.
Google provides a tool called Mobile Friendliness Test that you can use to check if your website is optimized for mobile devices and therefore more user-friendly.
How to make a mobile website?
Typically, the process of creating a mobile website begins with user and market research. Product teams collect information about the target audience (their needs and wants), analyze it, and use it to create solutions.
The process of creating a mobile user interface begins with prototyping, which typically involves creating low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes.
First, the product team creates a low-fidelity prototype to show the organization of information on different pages. They then transform the low-fidelity prototype into a high-fidelity prototype by adding real content and images to validate the design with real users. Once teams have a proven high-fidelity prototype, they can turn it into a full-fledged website using a web framework like Bootstrap, Angular, React, or a site builder like Squarespace, Wix, or Elementor.
What Makes a Good Mobile Website: 7 Key Principles
A good user experience is an integral part of product design, and websites are no exception.
7 principles to help you create great mobile designs:
Create a strong information hierarchy
Mobile users are very goal-oriented. When they visit a website, they want to find what they need as quickly as possible. People rarely read web pages verbatim, but skim pages. Therefore, good scannability is an essential feature of mobile web design. Visitors should be able to easily and quickly find the information they are looking for on your website.
Here are some things to keep in mind when designing your website:
Be selective about the information you display. Provide only the information the user needs to complete the task.
Put important information and key call-to-action buttons front and center. Ideally, users should find what they are looking for when they land on your homepage.
Visually separates navigation from content.
The website navigation design should help users notice menus. Use white space to visually separate content and navigation options.
Let’s take the example of the CNN mobile station. When you arrive on CNN’s mobile website, the first thing you’ll notice is the Featured News section. This information appears “above the fold” (the part of the web page that is visible without scrolling down), so users don’t have to scroll down to find the latest updates.
But if you are interested in a specific category (eg sports), you can click on the menu icon in the upper right corner of the page and see a list of categories. Note that the menu is relatively short, but provides all the necessary information.
But if you are interested in a specific category (for example, sports), you can click the menu icon in the upper right corner of the page and see the list of categories. Note that the menu is relatively short, but provides all the necessary information.
Use simple layouts
User attention is a valuable resource and should be allocated accordingly. When designing mobile layouts, you should prioritize simplicity because simple layouts work best on small screens. Here’s how:
Stick to a single-column layout. When optimizing your desktop web design, you often rely on multi-column web design grids to structure information. But for mobile, it’s best to stick with a single-column layout because multiple columns add noise and make it harder for users to understand information.
Do not use horizontal scrolling. Not only do horizontal pages create a poor user experience (since horizontal scrolling is unintuitive), but they also fail Google’s mobile-friendliness test.
Publish the layout. Mobile users shouldn’t be inundated with a ton of information at once, as it can get confusing and make it hard to find what they need. Take a minimalist approach to clean up layouts: use clean copy and get rid of purely decorative elements so your users can enjoy a clean and highly targeted mobile experience.
Remember that every text or image you use should provide value to your visitors. Check out this collection of UI kits to find the right layout for your next web project.
3. Make text readable and use large touch targets
Readability, or the ease with which a reader can understand written text, is an essential quality of web design because most information conveyed is through text or copy. Here are the features to consider when designing with good readability in mind:
Choose a font that scales well and fits all screen sizes. Helvetica and Roboto are good choices.
Font size. 16px is a good default for mobile font sizes.
Target WCAG 2.0 level AA to make text accessible to readers.
Small touch targets are another issue for mobile users. On mobile devices, users tap on-screen items with their fingers, but smaller touch targets increase the chances of users tapping the wrong object. Large, user-friendly buttons will make interacting with your website more comfortable for end users.
The recommended target size for touchscreen objects is 7-10mm.
4. Reduce user effort to enter data
Filling out forms isn’t the most exciting part of the web experience, but designing effective forms is crucial so your visitors don’t get confused. don’t have to spend so much time entering data. Here are some things to consider when designing your form:
requires minimal information. By only asking for essential information, you reduce the user’s workload when filling out the form.
Provide autofill for fields such as shipping or billing addresses. You can autofill a user’s address based on their geographic location.
Validate user input in real-time using inline validation. Users will see that the information they added is incorrect as soon as they enter their information, not when they press the submit button.
Optimizing design for page speed
Users care about speed in interaction design. The longer it takes for a website to load content, the more likely users are to abandon it. Therefore, it is recommended to measure performance and remove all objects that increase loading time. High-resolution images, videos, and fancy animations can all affect page load times. For practical tips on optimizing web performance, read the 2021 Front End Performance Checklist.
6. Visual and functional consistency between mobile and desktop
Many digital products are available as mobile apps and websites. If your product works for both, you need to align the mobile UI of your app and your website. Ideally, the mobile web experience should be indistinguishable from your mobile app, as this will allow users to switch freely between the app and the website.
A good example of such a product is Google Maps.
Below are screenshots of the Google Maps website and mobile app. You will notice that they look exactly alike.
7. Allow users to complete their journey on another device
It’s common for visitors to start a task on their phone but complete it on their computer. An example is purchasing a product from an e-commerce store.
Visitors love browsing on mobile devices, but when filling out forms, they want to switch to the desktop because it’s more convenient. Provide a “share” feature so visitors can email each other the link.
Always validate your designs with users
The principles above will help you create great mobile web designs, but it’s important to validate your designs with real users. When you take it out into the real world, even the most studied design will eventually contain unforeseen flaws. Testing will help you find bugs early in the design process, fix them, and ultimately achieve a great user experience.