How do you get online? Just from a computer? Probably not. Most people, us included, go online from phones and tablets just as often as from desktops and laptops. And isn’t it annoying when you’re watching TV, decide to look something up on your phone, but can barely read the tiny website font because it’s been designed for a massive monitor?
It’s more important than ever to think about mobile when you are considering your new company website, otherwise you are ignoring a large part – maybe the biggest part – of your audience. It also means that you shouldn’t think of ‘designing for mobile’ as a side thing to ‘designing for desktop’, or something you can get around to doing one day when you have a bit of spare time. Any web design you look at has got to work for all your visitors, or you’re failing them. Get your smartphone out and look at your website right now if you have one. Is it working? Is it attractive? Is all the necessary info visible? Could it be better?
There are a couple of ways to handle designing for mobile. One strategy is to make your website ‘responsive’ – in other words, the design of the website changes as the screen size does – it really does ‘respond’ to your device. This works really nicely for businesses that want an easy-to-publish option and a fairly straightforward site.
Another strategy is to have two different versions of your website. For example some firms have a separate site with its own URL that is designed specifically for a mobile format. Often it’s on a different subdomain (for example m.facebook.com), but it can also have the exact same URL as the desktop site but serve different HTML to desktop or mobile visitors depending on where they’re coming from.
There are some pitfalls with this method. If you have separate mobile URLs this means you have to redirect mobile users to the correct URL every time they visit the site. If you set up the redirects incorrectly, you can lose mobile visitors very easily by sending them to the wrong place. This could go on for quite a long time before you even realise there’s a problem! However, if you use a responsive design the site always delivers the same content to whatever audience is clicking through – it just presents it in a slightly different format each time.
Let’s say you’re going ahead with a responsive website design, if you are, then hopefully you’ll be using our services. What else do you need to bear in mind?
What is the most important content you want visitors to see? Think carefully about what’s central to your business, or what people online might be looking for, and then make sure it is front and centre of your design so that it’s the focal point on both mobile and desktop.
Does your business want to be big and bold with colour, or go for subtle and understated? What do the other sites in your market look like? Is it better for you to do something similar or go for something completely different?
Less is more. Too many images, menus, or widgets can confuse and irritate on desktop or mobile. But on mobile in particular if there are too many items on screen at any one time visitors are likely to click away at the first opportunity.
Remember that not all content works on all devices or operating systems. Use Flash if you like, but it won’t work on most smartphones. This probably goes back to ‘less is more’.
If you’re not sure whether something will work on mobile, leave it out. Or ask us!
To speak to us today regarding a free consultation or to find out how we can help your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to hearing from you.