Designing for a Mobile World

The trend and growth of mobile usage has increased since a couple of years back. It has become a primary device to access the internet and connect people, hence agencies and marketers will have to prioritize or at least consider developing a responsive website. But, how many people understand the term ‘responsive’ and ‘mobile friendly’?
There is a lack of knowledge when it comes to these terms and it is crucial for everyone to understand what’s the difference and what’s best for them to reach their consumers.

y1Note: Might want to include the new term ‘mobile first’. It is like a responsive website, but instead of catering to desktop versions that adapt into mobile, it is simply designing it the other way around.

A mobile-friendly website is a simplified, scaled down version, without sacrificing the design that is accessible either from mobile or desktop. Information is minimal, focusing on only the bare necessities that allow for quick access. Let’s take an automotive website for example. Typical content that feeds into the website would be showcasing their cars through 360° views, car specifications, features, a gallery and of course, pricing. However, it will be frustrating at times to view all this on a mobile which has a smaller screen size, making the text unreadable with pictures that are indecipherable unless you zoom in or scroll. This is where mobile-friendly comes into play, as to have a better user experience, you’ll need to focus on only the important bits you want your visitor to see.

There are things to consider however, when it comes to developing and updating the site. The web master has to code two versions and update content for both platforms even though it is a same website. If you are not sure if your website is mobile-friendly, find out at Google’s webmaster tool.

What about responsive design?

It is common nowadays to have a website that caters for mobile, as it is practically essential to do so.  A responsive design automatically responds or adapts to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. Since there are more devices in the market today, it is almost impossible to keep up to the various screen sizes, therefore, responsive design is one of the ways in which you can promote flexibility and optimized usability on any device.

Apple’s official website is a good example of a responsive design. Go on, try it on your desktop, tablet, and mobile and see the differences in each platform. You could also test it out by resizing your browser to see how the layout adapts accordingly as you scale it around.y2

Another responsive layout example from Barack Obama’s website:

obama_s obama_m obama_l
Mobile (S) Tablet (M) Desktop (L)

While a responsive designed website is the optimal choice when developing a website, it can be more expensive than creating a mobile-friendly website. It requires more time to plan as it takes into account the perspective of the user’s interaction (UI) and user’s experience (UX) during the development and testing phases; to ensure it works well.

Always think about your visitors. Websites are meant to take visitors on a digital journey. Now the journey that they are on should be as smooth and as frictionless as possible. The more user-friendly it is to navigate your website, the more likely you are to increase conversions.

So go on, and do your brand a favour. Optimize your website for that experience!




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