Changing times have compelled us to rethink the way we present information on the job. Previously, the only way to access the Web was on a computer. The trend has progressed to laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
More people are relying on their phones than ever before to the point where most of us keep in touch or browse the internet on our cell phones. It's an amazing transition and one that's forced us to alter design strategies so that websites can be accessed and viewed with no problem on various mobile operating systems and phone models.
So how exactly is all this done? How can we miniaturise websites to fit various display sizes without losing the originality of the design? Here are a few simple ways.
Think small but with all the vibrancy and creativity of the original site. Keep in mind that not every bit of content available on the original site can be made accessible on a phone because the smaller display simply doesn't allow it. What should be done instead is to pick out key pieces of information which are the basis for the website and build the rest of the content around them.
Simplicity is another factor that should influence design. Cell phone users don't expect developers to create complicated mobile sites and in fact, appreciate easily navigable pages. Fewer colours, less content and optimised images means pages will load much faster even if viewed on a 2G connection. Yes, 2G is still used in many parts of the world and designing mobile sites only for faster connections will alienate and limit customer base.
With navigation, much of the style in normal web pages can't be applied to cell phones. It makes navigation difficult and turns off mobile internet users because, really, who has the time to wait for a website to load? Web surfers are on the go which means they browse sites and check/send email while literally on the move. Time is, therefore, precious and not meant to be wasted on browsing heavy websites.
Responsive web design
Going back to what we mentioned earlier, following responsive web design is the key to allowing people access to web pages no matter what devices they use as long as they have internet support. Devices aside, websites should also be accessible no matter what operating platform is used. This includes designing pages such that they can be read and navigated with a minimal of scrolling, panning and resizing.
Detecting and redirecting users
Mobile Device Detection is important and forms the basis for whether a site optimised for cell phones can actually be accessed with ease. There are several methods to be used and you have your pick.
Designed for touch screen
Touch screen phones are the rage and most developers now design mobile websites solely for them. Don't do the same but to make it easier for such users to navigate through the site, consider using larger buttons and links with slightly larger fonts. Fortunately, it's easier to navigate on a touch screen phone especially if you want to scroll to the bottom.
These six aspects highlight what mobile websites should feature. There are others too. Incorporate them and see your mobile site compete with others on the top websites lists.
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