Over the last decade, internet users have been increasingly favouring mobile devices over laptops and desktop computers when it comes to consuming web content. According to a 2018 survey from AdWeek, consumers now spend as long as five hours browsing the internet on their smartphones, and the activity that took up the most of their time was watching videos online. CIODrive corroborates these findings with their own data, which revealed that 70% of all web traffic now happens on a mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet, and no longer on a personal computer.
Mobile is now winning over traditional computing devices by a considerable margin. It’s become the preferred means for people to consume web content, as well as to shop for goods and services online. Companies are doing well to invest less in traditional media, and more on websites and mobile apps in order to increase their web presence and brand equity. Web designers should be shifting gears the same way. To keep up with the times, they should be designed in favour of mobile devices as opposed to the once-ubiquitous desktop computers.
This is where the emphasis on mobile-friendliness comes in. A website can be thought of as mobile-friendly if its display and functionality are both optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet. For the experts over at Activate Design, a Christchurch NZ design agency, a mobile-friendly website is the sum of the following six important principles:
- Intuitive page display. The website’s display must seem natural and inevitable
to the consumer. It should be a breeze for them to scroll up and down with
their thumb or index finger; it should have a good appearance whether it’s
on portrait or landscape orientation; and important elements, such as
buttons, links, and the website’s search bar, should be visible and easy
for them to find.
- Readable font and efficient text formatting. It’s especially important to capitalise on font
choice and text formatting, as reading from a small mobile screen is
harder than reading from a large computer monitor. A smart website
designer will choose legible fonts for text, and they will also balance
chunks of formatted text with negative space to give readers some room to
- Seamless integration of media. Text isn’t the only thing that requires special
attention during the design process. The website designer should also
incorporate photos, animation, and videos for easy access on a mobile
device. All of these should be playable and cleanly laid out. It would
also be wise for the web designer to minimise redirection from the page so
that users don’t have to go to another site or app to peruse visual
content that interests them.
- Instinctive touch controls. In the early days of the internet, website design centred on click responses made with a mouse. But even this
action has evolved in light of the shift towards mobile. Now, website
designers must structure their user experience (UX) around touch controls,
such as tapping and dragging. Behaviours that businesses hope web users
will do—such as sharing their content elsewhere on the web or finalizing a
purchase after clicking the checkout button—will only be possible if users
can tap and slide their way through the website.
- Easy and streamlined data input. The experience of typing is also different on a mobile
device. Instead of being able to use all ten fingers to type on a wide PC
keyboard, users are limited to their two thumbs and a miniature screen.
Taking this into consideration, a web designer should then make data entry
as quick and painless as possible for a user. Any data forms on the
website, such as sign-up sheets and survey forms, should be designed for
two-thumb typing. There should be fewer text fields and more closed-ended
field types, thus enabling quicker conversions.
- Short and straight-to-the-point web pages. The timeless adage of “less is more” applies wholeheartedly to mobile-friendly web design. The less time it takes for a user to get from the top to the bottom of the page—and the fewer obstructions there are from getting a user to interact with it or transact on it—the more successful the website will be.
Knowing these principles is one thing; being able to execute them for the benefit of the business is another. As such, if you are looking to build a new website or to revamp an old one, make sure that your design partner can make your website as mobile-friendly as possible!
Author: I’m Jaylin: SEO Expert of Leelija Web Solutions. I am a content manager, and the author of elivestory.com and a full time blogger. Favorite things include my camera, travelling, caring my fitness, food and my fashion. Email id: [email protected]