When you use a smartphone or tablet to search a website, it’s a different experience than dropping in from a desktop computer. And the differences go beyond the fact that mobile devices have smaller screens. Keep these three thoughts in mind as you’re designing a mobile site.
With mobile, fingers of all shapes and sizes do the work. They touch, they pinch together or apart and they swipe, so make sure that the site is finger friendly. Use buttons that link to additional information and make sure they are large enough for thick fingers. Make buttons easy to locate through the use of bold type and bright colors. Make search boxes and forms easy for fingers to manipulate as well. Mobile users like to swipe, so use that feature as much as possible to move visitors through information on your mobile site. Retailers, for example, often display their products by displaying a series of photos that customers can quickly swipe through.
A lot of companies make a big mistake when it comes to the copy on their mobile site. They simply shrink everything down from their regular website, which can make for illegible text. If your website is text-heavy, don’t shrink the type; instead, pare down the copy and, if needed, increase the type size. And always use a type font that is legible no matter the point size.
Mobile users are often in a hurry. They hop online between meetings to order a Christmas toy for their child. They search for directions to a new restaurant. As they walk from one airline gate to another, they check the departure time for their connecting flight. If a mobile site is slow, they will quickly become disenchanted and frustrated. Before you load up a mobile site with videos, large photos and other elements that can slow its load speed, think about why mobile users will be accessing the site. Chances are, they are coming to your site for no-frills information not fancy graphics. Designing a mobile site that is simple, clear and easy to navigate will always be a winner.
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