Is mobile web application development the choice for you?

 

This short post is dedicated to mobile web application development and in particular whether or not this approach to mobile development is appropriate for your website.

Though there are no hard and fast rules for who should use mobile web apps, the intrinsic character of web apps means that certain websites will be very effective as an app, while others will not. Before we get into the technical side, let’s take a quick look at the mobile options available for building a website.

The first choice available for offering a mobile ready website is simply to use responsive design to create a website that works across any platform and device. Responsive design is perhaps the most frequently used solution to mobile browsing, partly thanks to the convenience of building a single site for multiple uses.

Before getting into mobile web apps, I firstly want to explain what a native app is. A native app is any application which you download and install onto your device, from the App Store or android marketplace. These apps are then readily available on your own device at your leisure.

Unlike a native app, a mobile web app is a website which looks, feels, and functions like a native app but with a few key differences. First of all, a mobile web app is like a website insofar as it is found and accessed via a web search, and nothing needs to be downloaded or installed onto your device. There are a number of benefits of this, not taking up any memory on the device, and the hesitation this may cause for native app users.

The one key limitation of mobile web apps compared with native apps is that they do not have automatic access to your devices’ features such as contact lists, camera, microphone and so on.

So who will most benefit from a mobile web application? As we’ve said, there are no strict rules. This said, though, the type of site which usually makes the best use of the platform are those sites which are image and icon-heavy, and relatively word light.

Mobile web development best practices for beginners

 

In this post, we’ll be taking a look at mobile web development best practices for beginners. Every year we see exciting new ways of building and designing for the mobile web, and this year has seen a host of changes that not only affect mobile websites but which are profoundly influencing the shape of the web at large.

More than ever we’re seeing an increase in trends leaning toward mobile priority, and perhaps for the first time, we are seeing desktop ready sites taking a huge inspiration from mobile web development. Below we take a look at how as a new business operating online you can take advantage of mobile web best practices to get your mobile site up and running.

Responsive design
Using responsive design means building your website with mobile browsing in mind from the very beginning. A responsive design usually builds your site based on a grid system which can adapt to different screen sizes while maintaining a consistent format and appearance.

Foundation
Before you try anything too ambitious with your mobile site, we advise building a firm foundation which is functional and simple to use. This will allow you to build from your base as you progress without the risk of your website falling apart.

Speed
One unique characteristic of mobile browsing is the inconsistent network we might experience while moving around. As such, it is absolutely essential that you keep website speed in mind at every stage of development.

Space
Perhaps the most significant difference of all with mobile browsing is the need to re-format to save space. Be sure to test each page of your mobile site to ensure that everything from text, images, icons, and buttons are functional and easy to use.

Finger friendly
Finally, as mentioned above, your site needs to be built and designed with hand held browsing in mind. Make sure that anything on your site that needs to be clicked is large enough to use with fingers and thumbs.

 

New mobile web development best practices

 

Every year we see new innovations and revolutions in the way that we approach web development, and this is especially true for the mobile web. New ways of designing and building mean that it is a part of the job of a website owner to stay present and to keep up to date with relevant mobile web development best practices.

In the past year, we’ve seen some exciting new changes, as well as a huge increase of mobile websites making use of tools and design features which didn’t even exist a year ago. In this post, we aim to give a broad explanation of recent best practices through the lens of appearance and performance.

Minimal Design
The first thing that is by now more apparent than ever regarding mobile design is that a basic and minimalist design is optimal for a number of reasons (which most mobile sites seem to have understood by now). A simple design helps to speed your website up, is widely appealing, and allows your viewer to focus on your content. As a stunning example of minimal design, why not try adding ghost buttons to your site?

Space Conscious
The next best practice that I want to consider here is being space conscious with your mobile design. There are a number of interesting ways to approach this challenge, from considering page format, to the use of features like hidden menus and left to right scrolling.

Speed Conscious
Finally, you should focus on the speed of your web pages in order to create the optimal performance for your site. One of the main variables with mobile browsing that doesn’t affect desktop browsing is inconsistent browsing speeds, and therefore work is required to speed up your mobile site. There are a number of ways to speed up page speed, one of the most effective though is to remove unnecessary media from your web pages.

 

Using mobile website examples to plan your site

 

In this week’s post, we’ll be considering how to make the most of the mobile website examples from your own industry and around the web in the planning and development of your own website.

First of all, you can use other websites at the very first stage of planning for your mobile site. Get a feel for the benefits and limitations of mobile browsing, as well as a general understanding of the different ways that mobile developers get around mobile design. At this point, you should communicate constantly with your web developer, and using links from other sites is a great way of illustrating the things you do, or do not want for your site.

You can use any website for finding inspiration, though it can be particularly fruitful to look to your main rivals, as well as the big companies in your industry to get an idea of what they’re doing with mobile design. You’ll be able to find any key common themes which pop up again and again, perhaps because the feature offers something valuable to websites similar to your own.

Use other website examples to create a checklist of every detail of the website design. This includes page by page details, as well as how you will format the pages of your site, and how you want to make use of menus and categories for your site. Once you have a basic skeleton in place for your website it will become much more easy to flesh it out.

Once your base or foundation is in place, you can start to consider ways to set yourself apart and add character to your website. This might mean trying out some new interesting features, hidden menus for example, safe in the knowledge that your foundations are secure.

Finally, looking to your rivals helps you build your own site by reassuring you that you’ve covered all bases, and not missed anything obvious or important.

Taking influence from great mobile website examples

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re completely new to doing business online, or if you’ve been fiercely competing online for a decade, it’s always useful to get some inspiration. In this little post, we’ll be taking a look at mobile website design, with a specific eye to how great mobile website examples can be utilised in the building of your own website.

The first place to look for inspiration would be those companies in your same industry which are market leaders. These brands will have executed a website with similar aims to you, but their site will be a demonstration of what can be achieved when budget isn’t an option. Though, this said, you certainly aren’t limited to your own industry for inspiration, and we recommend that you have a good idea of mobile design in general to inform your own process. Below we’ll be focusing on four key elements to mobile web design and how you can make use of them for your own site. These four key areas are: Design, Format, Features, and Content.

Design
The first area to survey when it comes to building your mobile website is design, as in the appearance of the site. In some specific areas of business, there may be specific rules, like bright and colourful for a kids website/product. In most cases though the best advice it to keep things simple while showcasing your branding.

Format
How do other similar websites lay their mobile site out? Are the certain pages or menu structures that you think will work particularly well for your product or service?

Features
Where, if anywhere, do other great mobile website examples make use of website features, and how can you make use of similar features? Features might include instant call buttons, mobile maps, and a range of other options.

Content
By having a good idea of the content offered by your rivals, you’ll both be clued up, as well as showing you the bar for your own content.

Finding fair mobile web design prices

 

One of the most frustrating things about mobile web design prices is that it’s so hard to find a general guideline. With all developers setting their own prices, and the transformations that take place in the industry over time, it can be impossible to work out what a web design should cost.

Every website is different, and although some basic costs will remain constant, as for quantity of web pages and so on, there are tonnes of individual features which may or may not be applicable for your site. In this post, we try to give a general breakdown of design prices for small, medium, and large websites.

Small websites
A small website describes any site made up of just a handful of pages (up to around a dozen). These sites are likely to be used primarily as a destination site, offering some key info, images, contact details and the likes. A small website is unlikely to be used for selling, and will more or less take the role of an online ad for your website. This type of site is especially common for businesses doing trade face to face who want to offer some brand info online. For this type of website, set yourself a budget of between $500 and $1000.

Medium websites
A medium website here refers to any site which offers more pages than the smaller websites described above, with the additional of some extra features. These might include map services, instant call buttons, e-commerce, and a range of design features that you might wish to add to give your site the edge. A medium site can either have many pages while being otherwise very simple or else it might be smaller but with more expensive features added. For a website like this consider a price range of around $800 to $1500.

Large websites
A large website consists of 20 or more pages, with the addition of the extras mentioned above. There is no limit to website size, of course, and this can cost anything from $1500 upwards.

A survey of mobile web design prices

 

Many of the most common questions about mobile web design revolve around mobile web design prices, and if this describes the search that you’ve recently entered into a search engine, then you’ll probably have found that it’s hard to get a straight answer.

There are several key reasons for this, firstly since all web developers set their own prices, each valuing their service differently to their rivals, but also because all websites require different levels of work, and will be of varying sizes. All of this noted, though, it is still very frustrating that it can be so difficult to get such a straightforward – and important – question answered.

In this short blog post, we’ll be covering all of the basics for costing a mobile website, as well as considering what big variables need to be considered.

Basic
First off, let’s take a look at the cost of building a completely simple destination website. By this what we mean is a website of a handful of pages, offering information and perhaps some photos or videos, but otherwise without any key functionality. A basic site like this is common for businesses who do most of their trade face to face, whether that is a restaurant or a place of retail. A mobile site with this kind of spec will usually be around a guide price of $500 or $600.

Intermediate
For a slightly larger or more complex website which builds upon the basic tier website explained above, you should expect to pay around $1000. The higher cost will be made up by more web pages, as well as any other additional features.

Advanced
As your site plan develops, with large numbers of pages, and additional features such as e-commerce, the cost of the website can quickly rise. A large website in basic form is attainable from around $1500.

Planning and preparation for mobile website development

This post is dedicated to anyone who operates an online business but who is yet to make the decision of building a mobile ready website. A good education is one of the most powerful weapons at your disposal, and understanding just a few simple principles about mobile website development can inform your whole method of doing business online.

Since the early days of browsing the web using a mobile device, things have completely transformed. Today the ease of access to mobile browsing means that all of us make use of the mobile web on a daily basis and on the whole, there are now more mobile browsers than people browsing from a standard desktop computer at any one time.

It all comes down to convenience really, we all live our day to day lives with a device in our pocket ready to check our emails, shop online, and an array of other useful or entertaining things. Combine all of this with the fact that we spend the greater part of our days out and about on the go, and it’s easy to understand why mobile browsing is so popular. For this reason, if a potential customer is ever going to stumble onto your site, the odds are that today they’ll be using a mobile phone to do so.

The appearance of your website should never be overlooked, as superficial as it might seem. The design is something that makes a big difference to how many customers will perceive your site after their first visit and will be decisive in whether or not they return. Plus, it’s simple to create a visually simple yet attractive design. Since mobile browsing can vary depending on the connection available at any given place or time, it’s important that you focus on keeping your site running as quickly as possible, too.

Key mobile website development strategies

 

In order to carry out a successful mobile website development, it helps to have a strategy. Though different sites will need to start at different points and will have different priorities, there are a few key steps that can help to send you on your way.

If you are yet to build any website at all, then we recommend starting with a responsive design that will function as your website and mobile ready site in one, if you already have a site live that is not mobile ready then you can build your mobile site based on your existing site.

First of all, make a plan with your website developer. Be sure that you and they have a sufficient understanding of what your aims are, this will make achieving them easier, and will help you avoid pitfalls along the way.

Next, look around and see what other websites in your industry tend to do regarding mobile design. There may be some particular website layouts which work ideally for your product or service, and surveying the market is the best way to avoid missing any great and obvious ideas.

Focus on building a simple yet very functional website before trying more adventurous ideas that you might have. When building a mobile site it’s best to build from the ground up and to focus on one element at a time. This will help you to understand why if something goes wrong, without you having to dismantle your website piece by piece.

Be sure to test you site at every stage of development rather than waiting until the end. This will allow you to work out any kinks as you go, preventing you from wasting precious time and resources.

Finally, when you have a fast and efficient working with all of your content, start to make some more advanced additions to your website.

Mobile web application development as an alternative to a mobile website

 

Before deciding on how you build or renovate your mobile platform, it is always best to start at the beginning so as to choose from the full range of options available to you for delivering your content online. Perhaps the most common options used to create a mobile-ready online platform for a business is a mobile website, however, there is also the increasingly popular mobile web apps, offering an app-like look and feel, while provided and found online.

Mobile web application development offers a great many perks which balance it somewhere between creating and using a mobile website, or designing a native app (one which you download and install onto your device from an “app store”). Like a mobile website, a mobile web app is accessed from a search engine or by entering a url directly, for example I could search for a pizza delivery restaurant and be directed onto the web app in the same was as a mobile site.

Like a mobile website, a mobile web app requires no download or installation for use, making it far more accessible to your customer base, but with many of the advantages of a native app.

A web app offers us like a native app skin that is worn by our mobile website. Taking inspiration from the way that an app uniquely offers us the full screen, and which takes advantage of the touch and direction sensors in our device as granted, a mobile app recreates the experience of an app, but without taking up space in the device memory. Apps are also preferred aesthetically over mobile websites by users, and things like scrolling and clicking seem to be more natural.

There are plenty of things to consider before you choose which mobile platform is right for you and your website, however hopefully this guide gave you a helpful introductory insight into some of the main pros and cons of mobile web apps, as well as their alternatives.