Firstly, when you begin your mobile website development, consider the look and feel of different websites and ask yourself what different approaches to design can offer your website. Should each webpage on your site be packed full of content, information and images, or is less more when it comes to your design? There are plenty of important decisions to make, but remember that your mobile web designer should be on hand to answer any questions or queries you have so be sure to rely on their expertise too.
Scour the web and note down all of the common mobile design elements that you see and find appealing, as well as those that you’d like to avoid for your website.
Next is the task of deciding what you need to bring from your main desktop ready website to your mobile website, and what you can leave behind. When it comes to mobile browsing, speed is a big factor and for this reason designing for mobile has some rules which you didn’t need to consider for your main website. One of the main decisions you’ll need to make on this point is to select which media including all videos, images, and interactive features are really necessary.
As we move around on our mobile device our internet capacity is constantly changing, and this is why browsing on a mobile can be slower than when sitting on our laptop or pc. For this reason as well as space concerns be sure to do away with any media that isn’t absolutely essential to the content on the page.
Once you have a basic set of foundations that you’re happy with for your mobile site, it’s time to add any additional features that you think will add value to your site. There are so many ways you can add to your site, but consider using ghost buttons, hidden menu screens, and horizontal swiping for scrolling as a few great places to start.
When you’re setting about the task of planning your mobile website, or if you’re just looking for ways to jazz up your existing site then there is no better way to start than browsing the web for great mobile website examples that you can take inspiration from for your own site.
What to look out for
When you start browsing the mobile web for ideas it’s a great idea to take notes of dos and don’t s – there will be plenty of common points between many of the sites you survey, and these more general features are an easy starting point. Note down any desirable features that you think would work particularly well for your website, but also pay attention to things to avoid, by simply opting out of certain design features you can make your site more simplified and unique than other websites.
Key things to look out for include how you’d like your site to brandish your company branding and logos, but it also includes more general points about website structure. How should your site structure be laid out? And how should the pages on your website connect together? All of these decisions are far easier when you look around for reassurance.
Looking closely at your industry
It might be the case that there are particular features available for a website which just happen to work well for a particular type of business. If you use a great deal of imagery and need to show multiple colour options in a product then consider ways you can save space like using image carousels for example. Again take the time to look carefully at how your competition lay their menus out – you might either notice something key that your existing site is missing, or else you might spot the chance to do away with something unnecessary that your rivals do out of convention.
In the ever changing world of mobile web development best practices it’s important to stay up to date in order to keep your website looking fresh. Whether you’re just looking for some ways to add value to your website, or if you’re going for a complete overhaul, we’ve got great advice for all.
Focus on content
A piece of advice that is so often missed – largely because it involves a high level of expertise and knowledge – is the importance of focussing on your content. If a user stumbles onto your website, whatever the subject, it’s because they are looking for something and hoping that you and your company are the one who can help them. Regardless of how nice your website looks, how quickly it runs, and how many nice features it houses, if the content is sub-par, then there really is no long term life span for the website. Customers will slowly but surely find other suppliers who know their stuff unless you get there first.
When it comes to the aesthetics of your website design, the golden rule is to keep things nice and simple. Your customer doesn’t need bright flashing signs or animation to draw them in, your website design isn’t like a shop front, once your customer is in, they’re already in. Instead keep your design subtle and let your content do the talking.
Make it interactive
Keeping in mind what we said about keeping your design simple and elegant, you can still add features which add value to your website. Remember that your mobile user is using their hands, so any hand friendly icons you can make use of are a big help, also consider menu screens and the size you have one screen to display content. Finally make use of “call” icons as an easy way for your customer to get in touch, and map icons and direction services to walk them right to your door.
Every year the standards and expectations of mobile web development best practices change and evolve and it can be tricky staying on top of things. Here’s our quick roundup of some of the most important best practice advice available for now.
Tried and tested rule number one on this list is minimalism and there are plenty of good reasons to follow this advice, particularly for mobile design. First of all, a simple and minimal design just does look visually appealing to a general audience. Although bright flashy stand-out colour schemes might seem like a good idea, research shows that users prefer a simple clean design. Being easier on the eye also means that the subject of your web page will stay at centre stage when it comes to your audience’s attention. Finally minimal design is ideal for mobile since page loading times can vary so greatly, and keeping your website quick will make a big difference to your user.
Next, now that you have a more simple and stripped back design foundation, you can consider adding features to your website to give your user a more interesting and enjoyable experience on your site. However do be aware only to use features which serve a purpose and not simply because you find it pretty.
Consider using any features that might save space on a small screen size, as well as using finger and thumb-friendly icons for clicking. One of the most valuable features we can recommend for this purpose is a cascading menu bar. Menus which hide from view when not used can save masses of screen space, allowing more of your content to be seen at all times.
Finally, if you depend on customers coming to your business address for a transaction then you should add map services to your website to direct your customers right to your door.
It makes no difference if you have an existing website or not when you come to plan your mobile website it can be really useful to look to your competition for ideas. Although in many respects you will be looking for a similar setup for your mobile site as on your standard website design, there are some differences worth noting that you can take advantage of as well as certain things you should avoid.
Working out what you need
First and foremost, you absolutely must spend time planning when you decide to add a mobile capacity to your online service, and one great place to start is by looking at other mobile website examples. Firstly look at characteristics that you want your mobile site to have, and next consider those things that you might currently have on your website which should be dropped for your mobile site.
Looking for inspiration
Of all your biggest and best competitors, who does it best? And what is it about their mobile platform that makes it stand out? Whatever other businesses in your industry seem to be doing is a great place to start to build your foundations from and will ensure that you haven’t missed a trick on anything. Once your building blocks are there you can focus on making gains on your rivals.
Being the best
How can you build upon what your competition are doing to be the best? Look around and do some more research on the mobile web and consider some extras you could offer that other website’s haven’t. The benefit of making your website in this way is that you can make use of everything that another company has, but by adding more on top you manage to make your website more impressive, as well as more unique than theirs.