The World Wide Web arrived almost 30 years ago. If you couldn’t look past its rudimentary text-centric nature, you might have concluded that it would never amount to much. Fast forward to 2017, and the world is all about the World Wide Web. The Web has advanced in part because computers have advanced. Nearly 8 out of 10 Americans own a smartphone, we all know that mobile website design is king. Or do we?
A big debate has emerged in mobile website design. Mobile first vs. mobile responsive. In other words, if you have to choose, should your website design prefer mobile platforms, or should it simply respond to the needs of mobile devices? After all, if 8 out of 10 users have smartphones, shouldn’t you design for the masses?
The good news is that you don’t really have to choose. Best practice says that mobile responsive websites are preferable to mobile-only ones. In fact, the best website designs fully address the user experience first, regardless of the platform. When you focus on the user experience, the design doesn’t get hijacked by a raging platform war. So what defines a good user experience?
Simplicity. Mobile devices have hardware limitations that determine what a user can and can’t do. Giving mobile device users what they need actually makes things easier for desktop users, too! Simplicity in all things – navigation, color palettes, images, font choices, text length – improves the user experience, no matter what platform they’re using.
That’s not to say that you can’t play to the strength of a desktop computer with a responsive web design. While most people have a smartphone, the majority of users still cross platforms to do certain things – like buying goods, researching and entertaining themselves. You can expand the capabilities of a website for desktop users without harming the user experience.
Scrolling. Thanks to the small screen size of mobile devices and their touch-responsive nature, most users have made their peace with scrolling. Mobile devices have effectively laid to rest the “above-the-line/below-the-line” web design debate. That opens more options for web designers, regardless of the platform you’re designing for.
Calls to action. In mobile website design, calls to action (CTA) need to be really obvious. As it turns out, users really like obvious CTAs no matter what platform they’re using. In a way, a CTA is a subset of navigation. Making the user’s next step easy to find, or easy to take improves the user’s overall experience.
Designing for the user experience allows you to incorporate the best attributes of mobile website design, while preserving functions for more robust platforms. If you’d like more information about mobile website design, please contact our Creative Director, < a href=mailto:[email protected]>Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation. We can help you improve your users’ website experience.
Photo Credit: BASF, via Flickr