Mobile website design

Mobile website design has been a hot topic. Having worked in mobile marketing, app and web design I’ve always promoted mobile responsive design for websites. When talking to businesses a few years ago the resistance I regularly encountered was businesses believed mobile website design confused users and the business would get better results with users using the desktop version and the “pinch & squeeze” method over use of the mobile version.

At the time, I was very pro mobile evolution however a part of me had to agree with them. The first problem was users were not familiar with mobile design and there was huge variation in mobile designs that really didn’t help. To explain this I use the Apple IOS 7 update. Before IOS 7 when touchscreen first game to market, users were unfamiliar with the navigation experience. Designers made every clickable feature look like a 3D button to help users. IOS 7 was a game changer for touchscreen user experience. Apple believed that users now understood how to use touchscreen technology and therefore they decided they didn’t need to make everything 3D. Instead they made flat buttons and people were perfectly happy with this. My point is, as users get familiar with mobile design they will start to understand the mobile characteristics such as the hamburger navigation menu and so on. There was also no Apple like force pioneering this new mobile design.

The second problem was that designers and the technology around mobile design was pretty poor and in all honesty it’s still in its infancy. Mobile design was inconsistent, there was no real guidelines and it was often clunky, slow loading and hard to navigate.

Because of these factors, it’s no wonder that many businesses refused to go mobile. Even multinational B2C companies with a heavy mobile proportion of users were staying away.

So what’s changed now, why is mobile hot topic? Well firstly, users are getting familiar with mobile design and designers and mobile marketers are getting better at predicting mobile user behaviour. The second is the technologies and responsive grid layouts are changing. Faster mobile internet speeds and changes to new responsive grid layouts such a Flexbox has enabled designers and developers to be much more in control when creating mobile user experience.

The third influencing factor lies with Google. Google has encouraged mobile design for years, but in April this year they announced that having a mobile friendly site would directly influence your position in the search rankings for mobile searches.

In my opinion mobile design is not as slick as it should be, but with the recent factors listed above, businesses are going to be serious about mobile and those who don’t supply a mobile friendly site will almost certainly get left behind.

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