Mobile friendly website

With more than 2.4 Billion users of internet all over the world, it is absolutely important that we have to promote our business through websites and by online marketing. Internet usage scenario has changed since the evolution of mobile internet technology. With about 1.7 Billion mobile internet users, it is obvious that our website is going to be accessed from any of the smart phones around the world. So it is the need of the situation to ensure the performance and quality of our website when accessed from a mobile phone. Most of the business is going to be processed through mobile phones now-a-days.

Let us discuss ten points to be kept in mind while developing a website for mobile phones.
  1. Orientation
  2. Reducing elements
  3. Adding search interface
  4. Using smaller images, fewer images or no images
  5. Adding white spaces like normal websites
  6. Avoid use of tables
  7. Pay attention to text color and contrast
  8. Small file size
  9. Minimize user interaction
  10. Develop websites for multiple phone platforms.

We have seen a web pages developed for wide screen computers which have landscape orientation and horizontal menu bars. This is because it can be well displayed in wide screen and is easy to access. But mobile phone screens are portrait oriented and have small screens. Therefore the menu bars should be vertical. So reorienting the web page to fit the mobile screen is important for easy access. This can be tackled by designing responsive websites though.

Reducing Elements:

As we discussed above, mobile phone screens are smaller and the web page contents that is used for computers may not be displayed or not at all displayed in a mobile screen. We have to reduce the number of elements displayed in the website for mobile phones. Instead of displaying a dozen elements, opt for half of that and choose what is most important. This plays an important role as you have to decide what is to be displayed and what need to be avoided.

Adding Search Interface:

Since we have reduced the number of elements in our mobile website for optimal viewing, we have to provide a search box to help customer to find out what is in our website or what they need. Mobile version of website will not be having complete navigation facilities at the home page itself. So search box for the website content is important.

Using smaller images, fewer images or no images:

This is another aspect of mobile websites. We need to reduce the use of images and graphics as the space is limited for mobile phones. Instead of displaying high resolution images we can try for better explanation using text itself. This will reduce the time to pull the website on to the screen. We have to keep in mind that mobile internet is slower compared to computer based internet and the downloading of large elements will be time consuming process in mobile websites.

Adding white spaces like normal websites:

When designing a website we normally have a tendency to fill as many elements as possible in the page. That tendency needs to be resisted while designing mobile websites. White space is an important content of a webpage. Too much contents in a little space will reduce the friendliness of the website. Just like the normal computer based web pages, white space need to be included in mobile based web pages.

Avoid use of tables:

If tables are used in our computer based website, we need to avoid that in mobile based web pages. Mobile phones simply do not display tables properly or sometimes it will not display at all. If the website is containing tables (normally websites do), and if it crosses the screen dimension of the mobile phone, the visibility of our website will be pathetic. So, for mobile phone websites, tables are not suited.

Pay attention to text color and contrast:

Taking into account the screen display quality of mobile phones, all brands will not come in the same cart. Some high end brand cell phones shines in the sky line while some others do not have much to say about display. While designing a website for mobile phone, we have to keep in mind about the variation in the display quality. The best procedure is to make sure that the text  color is in sharp contrast to the background color. If any doubts come into mind, just remember that white color background with black color text is universally acceptable.

Small file size:

We often blame our network service provider for slow internet connection speed. This is happening all around the world. Mobile internet connection is much slower (even 3G doesn’t have enough speed), whoever be the service provider. Keeping this in mind, we have to reduce the file size of our page as low as possible. A normal and acceptable file size comes between 20KB and 35KB. It will be better if we can make it lighter more.

Minimize user interaction:

Unlike the normal web pages in which user interaction is not an issue but a need, mobile web pages stands on the opposite side. If the mobile site requires lot of user interactions (user name, passwords, email ID, phone number etc.) we have to rethink about how we get that input. Most of the phones make the user click here and there and then tap somewhere else just to write a single letter or number via onscreen keyboards. We can make our users provide input using radio buttons or pull down menus instead of key strokes. The more user have to type in the mobile site, chance of user leaving the web site is higher.

Develop websites for multiple phone platforms:

While developing a mobile website, it is tempting to keep high end mobile phones in mind and build the web site according to the specifications of those phones. But note that all users does not have an Apple IPhone or Smasung Galaxy. The resolution of mobile screen varies from 128 x 160 to 960 x 640 pixels. It is difficult to make a single site look perfect in all these resolutions. Some mobile screens are tall and skinny, some are short and long and some others are perfect square. The best solution is to keep our web site as light and simple as possible. Another option is that, we can develop multiple websites for different brand phones. In all cases, we have to keep in mind the different mobile phone platforms.

In addition to all the above points, unlike internet users sitting in home or office in front of their pc,  mobile internet users are always ‘mobile’. That is, they use internet on the go. These type of users want the information as quickly as possible as they might be driving their vehicle or walking down the street while surfing the internet. So our main aim should be to provide them what they are looking, without much time.


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