In 2021, every industry understands the importance of having a mobile-friendly website for their business. Worldwide, more people access the internet from their mobile and tablet devices than from desktop computers. And, then, there are several such statistics that shows the importance of having a mobile compliant website.
So, we won’t get into the nitty-gritties of why it is crucial to have a responsive website design for your business.
This blog is dedicated mainly to discuss and understand the some very basic, yet highly important, design principles that one needs to follow in order to create an effective mobile-friendly website.
Now, it is very important to understand that when we are talking about a mobile responsive website design, it is entirely different from a mobile app design. Design principles for something like an app made to run on a desktop computer are usually slightly different from the most effective mobile UX design conventions.
Additionally, a lot of novice designers approach their mobile website as just a scaled down version of their main site. Your mobile website should be an opportunity to really leverage the unique qualities of mobile devices and engage the unique behaviors of mobile users.
So, let’s take a look at some of the very basic design principles to keep in mind and follow in order to create an effective mobile-friendly website.
Go for minimalism
You need to be ruthless when prioritizing the UI elements to put on each screen. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of packing too much information into an interface, only to end up overwhelming your users in an attempt to give them everything they could potentially want.
A minimalist design will improve both the visual experience and the speed of your website or app. And speed is part of the experience. The longer it takes to load a page or some content, the worse the experience.
Keep navigation (and menu) simple
Consider this as a continuation of having a minimalistic mobile website design.
On a mobile device or tablet, you can’t expect users to scroll through a large menu or click through to multiple sub-menus. There just isn’t enough space on the screen to process it all.
Ideally, you should have just one sub menu under each menu category for ease of use. Be sure to put your most important pages first.
If you don’t need more than three or four menu items, you can experiment with static navigation, which has a simplicity that is visually appealing.
The “hamburger” menu is universally recognized and a very mobile-friendly solution to navigation—and it also respects the generally accepted idea that mobile navigation should take, at most, three taps to arrive at the desired page.
It’s important that menus contain a high-level overview of the products and services you offer to allow visitors to narrow down what they’re looking for. From there, they can click to a specific category or utilize the search feature to filter their results further.
Use short and precise form types
When it comes to completing contact forms on mobile, users are not interested in filling out field after field of information. For those situations, they’ll likely opt for a desktop or laptop. That’s why it’s even more important that you only ask for information that is absolutely necessary to accomplish the task.
Forms are a great place for A/B testing; you can take out one or more fields, switch up the layout, play with the CTA and see which forms get the best completion rates.
Consumers understand that more information is necessary to make a purchase, but it’s important that you’re sensitive of their time, especially if you receive a lot of mobile traffic.
So, for example, people are more likely to complete a form when it doesn’t require a phone number, so unless you absolutely need it, it’s best not to ask for it.
In addition to form length, it’s important that you utilize different field types in your form, such as dropdowns, checkboxes, and calendars. These are especially useful when typing in payment or shipping information, as well as booking travel.
To make things easier for returning customers, utilize auto fill to expedite the purchasing process, and offer guest checkout to new customers who don’t want to make an account.
Work on the CTA buttons
It can be easy for mobile users to miss certain UI elements, so always put your key calls-to-action where users will see them.
Calls to action are an essential part of any web design, but they play an especially important role on mobile. Since, as opposed to their desktop counterparts, mobile users typically have more of an idea of what they’re looking for when they come to- to your site, make it as easy to find as possible with CTAs placed in the most valuable places.
Feature your primary calls-to-action in the most prominent site space.
Ideally, they should be located above the fold, use contrasting colors or fonts to make them stand out (within reason, of course), and clearly state what the offer is for.
Make search easy
Users looking for specific information usually turn to search — so search should be one of the first things mobile users see on your site. Place your site search near the top of your homepage via an open text field.
Consumers visiting the website with a predetermined action are less likely to dabble with vague menus or scroll through page after page of products. That’s why it’s all the more important that your search results provide exactly what the visitor is looking for on the first page.
Once a user completes a search, provide filter options so that they can sort the results as it best pertains to them (e.g. price, relevance, top sellers, etc.).
If search is a primary function of your site display it prominently, as it can be the fastest route to discovery for users with high intent to convert.
Keep a check on the fonts and colors
Legibility is another one of those things that’s obviously important regardless of the platform you’re designing for. You should always follow the common guidelines for font sizing, line height, font choices for longer-form texts, etc.
One of the worst things you can do is design your mobile website with text too small to be easily read; your users shouldn’t have to zoom to read a single word on your site, especially your navigation text.
This leads to a terrible user experience, which is something search engines pay attention to in determining page rank.
For easier navigation, choose fonts that are taller and naturally structured to leave a bit of space between letters.
Most device manufacturers recommend Arial, Helvetica, Courier, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Trebuchet MS.
Additionally, pick font colors that stand out from your background colors for easy reading.
Design for thumbs
Along with the legibility of the text on your mobile design, make sure that each button is large enough to be clicked on, and that they’re not spaced so close together that you might accidentally click on something you didn’t want to.
The average finger needs at least 44 pixels in both dimensions for a good touch experience; anything smaller and user experience suffers.
It might be hard to adapt to every smartphone’s screen size, but it’s generally advised that you try to design your site with a few older models in mind, since older phones tend to have smaller screens. That way you can ensure that your content is easily visible across platforms.
Beyond this, you need to design your mobile website around the common gestures and motions mobile device users naturally use—and using those gestures as much as possible to let users accomplish their objectives on your site.
With the number of consumers who do business on the mobile devices, and the increased buyer intent when it comes to mobile searchers, today’s businesses really must do the work to compete for mobile customers. The first step, then, is a mobile-friendly website that rests on mobile-first design principles that enhance the user experience.
So, whether you want to revamp an already existing mobile website design or need to create an entirely new custom mobile website design, our team can help. Learn more by getting in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org