Remember that a mobile website is similar to any standard website. These have HTML pages, text content, data, images, and video, just like any other website you see on a desktop or laptop computer. They are that are accessed using Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G networks.
Mobile websites differ from the websites designed for the typical desktop by being designed specifically for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface found on the tablet computer and mobile phone devices.
The Main Challenges
Web designers have seen websites viewed on mobile devices more and the last few years. Designers can no longer afford to ignore this with the advent of mobile apps and mobile websites.
Four main challenges that face designers.
So many devices, some many browsers. Mobile development is more than cross-browser compatibility, as it is also cross-platform compatible. There are so many mobile devices from well-established vendors such as Apple and Samsung and more on the way up. Testing for each device is a near-impossible task. To make things even more difficult is that all the devices can use many different mobile browsers such as the native pre-installed browser or Android or Firefox and another browser.
Internet connections and slow speed. A survey by EPiServer shows that the slowness of a mobile website is a major issue for users of tablets and smartphones. They are not as tolerant in waiting for a website to load or for features of a web page to load as those users who are using a desktop. Internet connections provided by vendors are partly responsible for the slow speeds experienced by users. Networks being busy, or the web hosting is slow, both of which are beyond the designer’s control.
Designers are challenged to design with mobile users in mind and give them the tailored but complete experience they want on the device they use. Rather than cut out parts of the regular desktop, designers should streamline their mobile websites should avoid pop-ups, Flash applications, high-quality background images, and unplayable videos. They should also check that any redirects to a mobile URL are working. Therefore the speed of the Internet connection and loading time should be increased to a near-instant load and quick and enjoyable experience.
Small screen size Mobile devices present designers with a further challenge which is seriously small screen size. Typically the mobile website scrolls vertically or downwards with sections “stacked” on top of each other. This forces designers to produce radically different layouts of the main website. Designers should, however, restrict just how much they do this because users do not want to scroll endless to get to what they want to see; else, they will leave the website.
Ease of use As well as battling different screen sizes, designers also face ease of use or ease of use. As with all websites, they must be easy to use else the users will just leave the website. Designers can do a few things and include the following:
Improve readability by increasing the font size of any small or medium-sized text.
Increase the clickable areas of any important buttons or links because “clicking” on links and parts of web pages is generally less precise on mobile devices.
Choose vertical scrolling over horizontal scrolling because horizontal real estate is especially expensive on mobile devices.
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Avoid floated elements where possible as these cause problems for mobile layouts.
Avoid mouse over states because these do not work with most mobile devices. This calls either for showing the links at all times on mobile devices.
Three approaches to mobile design
With the above four issues in mind, designers have many approaches open to them when they are designing mobile-compatible websites.