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App Development
7 minutes read

The Emergence of Mobile Website Design: Building an Experience for Mobile Users

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
7 minutes read

Quality mobile website design is vital to your organization’s digital efforts. Due to the proliferation of mobile devices, today’s web has never been more accessible. Users are far more likely to use a mobile device than a desktop computer to access the Internet. 

As a result of this significant shift in user behavior, search engine giants like Google have shifted to mobile-first indexing. This means mobile-friendly websites are given priority in search results. 

Therefore, organizations that want a web presence must prioritize mobile website design. 

This post will examine the different mobile web design options available to organizations. Plus, we will share mobile website design tips so your business can build a mobile-friendly website. 

Designing a Mobile Site: Three Main Options 

When it comes to building a mobile website, organizations have three main options:      

  • Responsive design
  • Adaptive design
  • Mobile-first design

Each option can create a stunning mobile site, but each comes with different considerations and potential drawbacks. So let’s take a closer look at how each option works for mobile websites.

Responsive Design 

A responsive web design grows and shrinks to match the screen size of the device used to access the website. Since there are various mobile devices with large and small screens, responsive web design is a popular choice with businesses. 

Good, responsive web design delivers an optimized web experience to mobile, tablet, and desktop users. Responsive design utilizes JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to detect screen size and automatically adjust elements like font size to match. 

Developers can also use responsive web design to create custom layouts for specific devices and screen sizes. For example, a web designer could create a layout for desktop users, tablets, and mobile devices. 

The primary advantage of responsive design is that it shortens development time since designers only need to create one design. Furthermore, Google recommends responsive design, which is helpful for ranking in search results. 

If you have an existing desktop website, you will need to redesign it entirely to make it responsive. Simply adding a mobile device template will not yield your desired mobile web experience. 

Adaptive Design 

Adaptive web design involves having different versions of your website design. For example, users who access the website from a mobile device are shown the mobile version. Access from desktop computers will render the desktop version. 

An adaptive design might sound like responsive web design, but they are different. Responsive web designs are a single version, even if there are templates for different devices. 

Adaptive designs are separate. There is a distinct mobile version and a distinct desktop version. Using JavaScript, the website will detect the size of the screen and serve the version tailored to fit it. 

Adaptive design takes longer and costs more because you are designing a desktop site and a mobile site. However, adaptive design gives your organization far more control over the assets used in mobile website design. 

Responsive websites can’t be optimized as thoroughly as adaptive mobile websites. Plus, if you already have a desktop site for your organization, you can leave it as it is and just focus on the mobile site. 

The biggest issue with adaptive design is that tablet users often get left out. Depending on the tablet, they will either see the mobile site or the desktop site. This experience likely won’t be optimized for these users. 

However, tablet users represent the minority of Internet users, so many companies are comfortable choosing an adaptive design and giving tablet users the option of using either the desktop site or mobile site via a link. 

Mobile-First Design 

Mobile-first is a design principle that prioritizes mobile website design above all else. This is because the majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices. 

Since mobile users account for most of the web traffic, designers and developers have shifted their attention to mobile websites. Instead of designing a desktop website first, organizations find mobile web design far more important. 

Organizations that follow the mobile-first approach can still spend time on desktop website design, but the primary focus is pleasing mobile users before all else. 

Certain page elements, such as scrolling experience, load time, and interactive elements like buttons, are unique to mobile website design. Therefore, mobile-first is a website design approach that considers the screen space and unique features of the mobile screen before everything. 

This website design approach generates a great mobile web design that looks stunning on multiple devices. In addition, this type of mobile website design tends to look cleaner and easier to understand because it considers how users scroll through mobile screens. 

The downside of this website design approach is that desktop design might not get enough attention or be completely ignored. While mobile web design is critical, you can’t afford to forget about desktop design. 

Mobile Website Design Tips 

While there are several ways to design mobile-friendly websites, the best mobile websites tend to utilize similar elements to ensure an effective mobile experience. When you’re ready to begin your web project, consider these design tips to build a mobile-friendly website:

  • Button size 
  • Simplify navigation
  • Text size 
  • Forms 
  • Avoid pop-ups 

Button Size 

Button size is one of the most impactful aspects of mobile website design. Users are accustomed to the user-friendly button designs popularized in mobile apps. 

As a result, button size must be a focus of any mobile website design. Buttons should be large enough, so users never have to zoom in to click them on their screens. 

In addition, buttons and other hyperlinks need to be spaced far enough apart that users don’t accidentally click a link or button they did not intend to click. 

When working on mobile website design, ensure that you focus on spacing and button size. Create a prominent CTA button for the most desired action you want users to take. 

Simplify Navigation 

Your mobile website should deliver a mobile navigation experience akin to a mobile app. A mobile homepage varies significantly from a desktop version. 

The main difference is that a mobile website has far less menu space. As a result, mobile website design should focus on delivering simple navigation menus. 

Generally, the best mobile websites utilize hamburger-style navigation menus. When users click this menu, it fills the screen giving the user an easy-to-read and use navigation experience. 

Text Size 

Readable text is crucial to mobile-friendly website design. This point may seem obvious, but it is easily overlooked when designing content for smaller screens like smartphones. 

Much like button size, users should never have to zoom in to read the content on your website. In addition, you also don’t want users to horizontal scroll to read all of your content. 

Text in a mobile-friendly design should always be large enough to read comfortably.

Forms 

To create a good mobile experience on your website, you should design simple forms with large buttons. Filling out forms is much easier on a desktop. 

Bear this in mind when designing forms for your mobile website. The majority of your users will be using smartphones to access your website. As a result, forms need to be simple and easy to complete. 

Difficult forms won’t be completed at a high rate and will likely lead to a large portion of users bouncing from your website. 

Avoid Pop-Ups 

On desktop screens, pop-ups might be more effective since the screen is significantly larger. Pop-ups create a horrible mobile experience and will drive users away from your mobile website

Don’t include pop-ups on your mobile website. If there is important information that must be conveyed, find more creative ways to do so. 

Final Thoughts

Businesses must take mobile website design seriously. The majority of your users will be using mobile phones to access your website. If you want to learn more about mobile website design and development, reach out to an experienced web development partner like Koombea.

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