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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 your site using stunning mobile website examples

At the dawn of the internet, standards weren’t particularly high when it came to web design, and companies with impressive sites were few and far between.

By now though, with even small independent businesses often building a website as standard, and with the huge steps forward in technology for building sites it can be far more challenging to stay on top of mobile design ideas. One great and easy way to start building up an idea of how you want your site to look and perform though is by checking out other great mobile website examples for inspiration.

Creating a mobile site has also become far more simple, and there are far more services out there offering affordable rates with a quick turnaround. So before enquiring work out an idea of what you like, and what you dislike about other websites performing a similar role to what you want your own to perform.

Some of the mobile sites that do it best can be broken down easily, the most important design feature for mobile is often enough just simplicity. A page that looks clear, and which is easy to navigate for the eye is one of the most simple things to achieve and goes a long way with your audience.

A bad mobile website will struggles to handle different screen sizes and so is impractical for phone or tablet users. Users will experience content that is shuffled about on the page and difficult or impossible to read. Another of the most common problems with bad mobile design is that menus can be tricky to click with fingers and they’re designed to be used with a mouse cursor.

Finally, try not to fill your website with unnecessary information, as this can be difficult to view and result in slower loading times. So many sites are too messy for the eye to focus, and this makes an unmistakeable first impression to your viewers which is worth avoiding.

 

Our handbook to mobile web development best practices

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.

Minimalist
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.

Features
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.

Essential Mobile Web Development Tools: An Overview

 

This blog post is dedicated to all the website owners out there who like to understand a little bit about how the SEO techniques that they invest in will work for their website. We’ll be taking a look at different mobile web development tools, and specifically the role that they play in website development. Though there is no explicit need to understand these tools in too much detail, a basic understanding can make a difference with how you plan your website in the long term.

Each web developer will have their own favourite tools in their SEO toolkit, though the tools we look at below are widely used, and they cover all the foundations of a basic SEO strategy, delivering you a functional and effective website.

Bootstrap
As the tagline states, Bootstrap is made for geeks, by geeks. This web tool creates a stunning front-end framework for developing websites across platforms, to any level of simplicity or complexity. This tool is the most viewed on Github, it offers tonnes of features, plugins, and can be used for any website, for any use.

Appcelerator
The Twitter favourite Appcelerator boasts some of the most impressive features as an app-building tool. Make use of this tool for web apps, native apps, mobile apps and functions across PHP, HTML, and JavaScript.

Alpha Anywhere
Another tool for developing web apps, mobile apps, and hybrid applications with a distinctly native look and feel. Among the unique benefits of Alpha Anywhere is the extremely straightforward nature and the speed with which apps can be created in a professional way.

Divvy
Divvy is the perfect tool for creating responsive sites. Dividing your web pages into grids, Divvy creates instant formatting for your website across any and all devices. Divvy is a universal tool for scaling any website for responsive design. It’s that simple!