5 Best Practices for Designing Mobile-Optimized Websites
“The desktop user interface platform differs from the mobile user interface platform in many ways, including interaction techniques, how people read, context of use, and the plain number of things that can be grasped at a glance. This inequality is symmetric: mobile users need a different design than desktop users. But, just as much, desktop users need a different design than mobile users.” – Jakob Nielsen
Mobile web design is in its infancy but it is going to be future of the Web. With predicted 1.7 billion mobile internet users by the end of 2013, you cannot afford not to have a mobile website. Therefore, it is important to devise your mobile strategy NOW and make informed choices by studying these best practices for designing mobile-optimized websites.
Know Your Goals
Depending on your goals, there are many approaches to designing or optimizing your website for mobile. You can develop a separate website for mobile devices, develop a mobile application for customer, scale down your regular website for mobile, or design a hybrid layout. Determine your website goals and figure out the best approach.
People vs Devices
There is a plethora of mobile devices out there and it is practically not possible to support all those devices. Use standard frameworks and development methods that most mobile devices support. However, you should not sacrifice usability for design. Remember that your ultimate goals is engaging audience and interacting with people.
Develop Content Strategy
Optimize Design for Performance
Everybody likes fancy websites but it should not tempt you to ignore performance. Designs loaded with extensive design and large images not only slow down the website but also cost your mobile users money on their bandwidth consumption.
Keep your design simple and efficient. Mobile devices are much underpowered than conventional desktop computers. Manufacturers also customize the operating system for their hardware, which means your website may perform differently across different mobile devices running the same operating system. Therefore, a simpler and standard design is more likely to perform well and cost less when it comes to optimization. Remember that users have no tolerance for slow performance, but a strong appreciation for mobile sites that get the job done.
According to a study by Google and Nielsen, 55% of purchase –related conversion occurs within 1 hour of initial mobile search. This is a significant figure. It suggests that mobile users are more likely to respond to mobile advertising and make quick decisions. Focus on your advertising strategy for mobile users. It may require changes in your content delivery methods, website design, and e-Commerce strategy.