Top usability tips for success in mobile web design

In last few years, accessing web has become much easier for users and this is partly owing to development of new technologies and emergence of web enabled mobile devices. In last couple of years tablets and smart phones have emerged as preferred web access devices for a majority of internet users. Present generation touch screen tablets and smart phones offer near computer like web browsing experience. With 4G LTE mobile networks spreading in many countries accessing web at blazing speed with these devices is a reality now. That is why web designers are focusing on developing websites for mobile device users.

However, designing website for mobile devices require implementation of different strategies compared to mainstream or PC based web design. Most of mobile web users rely on tactile feedbacks and navigation to browse web as opposed to PC users who use input devices like keyboard and mouse. While designing websites for tablets and phones, a web designer needs to focus on usability along with other aspects like aesthetics and technology implementation. Below listed are some helpful usability tips design professionals can implement while making mobile centric websites.

Understanding user needs: It is important that as a designer you understand user requirements while making a mobile centric website. Mobile web users can access the web for various reasons. It could be for checking email, chatting, and buying products and even for interacting with social networking site buddies. Depending on type of website, you need to design it in such way that user’s attention is drawn to contents.

Making sites mobile enabled properly: When you make websites for mobile users, try to keep things simple and minimal. Remember that fact that tablets and phones have smaller screens with varying resolutions. You need to ensure that the sites you design get rendered seamlessly across major tablet and smart phone models. Nowadays, there are web design apps that let you design sites that can be displayed on mobile platforms without any disparity.

Implementing less is more theory: Mobile users see websites on smaller screens and depending on the devices they use, resolution can be as low as 320×240 pixels. Therefore, it would be a good idea to avoid making your web pages cluttered with too many elements. Mobile centric sites should not be equipped with unnecessary animations, pop up and banner ads. They eat up precious screen real estate and creates problem in web usage for users. You also need to be careful about using proper colors and images. Refrain from using high resolution image and videos in mobile sites as these will cause delay in site loading. Despite improvement in mobile network speeds, users still have to deal with bandwidth hassles and heavy web pages can be annoying for them. Entry level mobiles with basic hardware and limited amounts of RAM will struggle to render media heavy websites as well.

Using easy navigation and visible buttons: In mobile centric websites, designers need to make navigation a hassle free affair. Major links to other pages should be visible at any page of a site. Buttons should be big enough otherwise users with large finger and thumbnails will end up hitting other buttons when they intend to click another. You can also use touch sensitive buttons that change color to facilitate straightforward navigation in these websites.

Refrain from using elements with poor compatibility: In a website that will be targeted at mobile users, it is recommended that designers avoid using elements and technologies that are not compatible across mobile OS platforms. One such instance is Adobe Flash. While major android OS based devices support Flash, there are mobile users who face hassles in using Flash based websites. For similar reasons, you need to test your website for cross browser compatibility before publishing. There are plenty of mobile browsers but you can try your sites on Opera Mini as it is supported by a huge number of mobile devices nowadays.

Using the right apps: There are various applications you can use for designing websites and nowadays it is also possible to use specific apps meant for mobile web design. In fact, designers can use tablets to design websites using tablet specific applications. It will help them in making mobile specific sites.

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