Embracing the Mobile Web
No matter how many times we keep beating that dead horse, it seems like some people still aren’t getting it; mobile is where it’s at! Are you doing everything you can to embrace the potential of your mobile website?
If for some reason you or your company is still clinging to outdated conceptual models, consider your last family gathering. Why does that have anything to do with mobile web? Well more than likely, at your family gathering there were a lot of kids and teenagers. Of course what were those kids and teenagers all doing instead of interacting with family? I’ll bet $20 that they were on their phones or tablets playing around.
That is the future generation right there and they are on mobile devices like a fat kid on a cake. You add that to all of the 20-somethings who live and breathe on their mobile devices and you can see an ever growing group of people who aren’t going to use desktop unless they have to. The numbers track as well with mobile users expected to overtake desktop users by 2014.
So with that in mind, how are you embracing your mobile website?
- Size & Resolution – Desktop devices have fairly set standards when it comes to size and resolution. The mobile market, on the other hand, is still lacking in standards. The iPhone 5 uses 1136×640 pixels while the Samsung GS3 uses 1280×720. Other phones are similar and you can bet the sizes will fluctuate based on popularity. The two most notable ways to overcome this problem is by either A) designing responsively or B) using HTML5.
- Prioritize – One thing people should consider if they are designing a single site that will work on all sizes is priority of functions! While you might go responsive in design, take it one step further and design from mobile to desktop. That means start with a design that works best for a phone in regards to content, button placement (near the button where the thumb is), and key features. Then as the design expands add in functions and features until you get to desktop size. It is much easier than scaling down.
- Consider the Network – No matter how much all the phone companies might want us to believe it, the truth is that about 55% of the world’s population has slower than a 3G connection. While the U.S. has plenty of G3 and G4, there will still be data issues. Also many people face monthly caps on the amount of data they download. So the answer is to strip the site down by cutting back on large images and videos. It is a challenge to create the same user experience from one level to the next, but is not something that should be overlooked!
- Consider the Users – Where do you use your mobile device? Are you alone in a quiet corner? Probably not. More than likely it is on a train, in a coffee house, or somewhere else where it is noisy and you are easily distracted. Plus you don’t have the fine control of using a mouse. Design your site around those ideas. Who needs bells and whistles that people can’t hear? Things need to be simple, bold, and straightforward with one-finger (or thumb) navigation. Physical influences limit a user’s ability.
- Think Mobile – Put yourself in the mobile users shoes. More than likely you are a typical consumer. Your phone goes everywhere with you. Watch and ask how people use their phones. Focus groups are sitting in every coffeehouse in town.