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Designing Mobile Websites

By December 6, 2012May 13th, 2019

designing-mobile-websitesWhen it comes to the mobile web, there are many methods to quickly get up and running with a mobile site. But just because your site fits on the screen of a smartphone does not mean it is a mobile-optimized website. In order to create a truly optimal experience for your mobile users, it’s important to rethink your site’s structure, content, and overall goals, and fully take into consideration what factors will affect the overall mobile experience for your users.

Things to consider as you start to plan your mobile website

Navigation on mobile is not like navigation on your desktop.  You’ll need to rethink your navigation structure for mobile. A successful mobile-optimized website can have multi-tiered navigation, but give some thought as to what content should be included, and what content can be eliminated for your mobile website. Long forms are a problem for mobile users. . . on the other hand, a click-to-call button makes complete sense.

Your navigation system should be tailored to your mobile users’ needs and behaviors. People who are on their phones need to quickly reference information, and your navigation structure should give them the ability to do just that.

Optimizing your content for mobile goes hand-in-hand with navigation, and needs to be thoroughly reconsidered when creating a mobile website. This is where most transcoded and responsive solutions fall short, because they simply pull 100% of the desktop content to use on the mobile site–word for word, image for image.

In order to meet your on-the-go visitors’ needs and provide a tailored mobile experience, it is imperative that you rethink your content for the mobile user, not simply copy it directly from your desktop site. Boiling down long-form content will keep pages shorter, so your user isn’t scrolling through paragraph after paragraph of text. This will allow them to access the information they need while on the go in a quick and easy-to-use fashion.

Information on your desktop website that is frequently updated, like your blog, news items and upcoming events) can be automatically added to your mobile website by using RSS feeds. This eliminates the need to publish your content twice. And using mobile-optimized images will ensure that they load and render correctly to fit on the screen of a smartphone and won’t cover up any links and/or text.

Creating mobile calls to action. Your mobile users are likely on-the-go and looking for quick reference information, not doing extensive research. They are also fortunate to have different functionality at their fingertips, such as calling, texting, and GPS-assisted navigation that a desktop experience cannot provide. Creating and rethinking your calls to action for the mobile user is one of the most important steps to delivering a truly optimized experience. The result? Your mobile website will serve the needs of your target audience and, perhaps more importantly, become a finely-tuned lead generation tool.

Load times are crucial when it comes to mobile. In fact, a study done by Keynote Competitive Research found that 67% of people expect a mobile site to load in under 4 seconds. Smartphones have much slower download speeds than desktop computers, and these devices are frequently connecting via 3G or slower, as opposed to Wifi. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to ensure that your site will be delivered and load quickly. Using smaller images (or swapping images out for HTML and CSS), boiling down your content, and reducing the number of site pages are all ways to help improve load times.

New mobile devices are coming out every month, providing new platform sizes, new operating systems, and new features. It’s important that your mobile website is not only viewable on all devices, but looks the same on all devices. To ensure this, you need to choose a mobile platform for your website that invests heavily in R&D and keeps current with all the new developments in the mobile space.

Creating your mobile website

Your mobile website should match the colors and style of your desktop website, keeping all the branding that you’ve labored to develop.  Because we’re inbound marketers as well as mobile designers, you can expect your users will have a great experience on your mobile website, and that we’ll help you cater to your users, and shape their course of action. Great things can happen when marketers and designers work in unison.

We work with your team to review your website content and determine what content would be best on your mobile site to satisfy your mobile users and to meet your marketing goals. Once we know what content we’re using and have a navigation system and mobile-optimized images, it generally takes us no more than 2 weeks to build your mobile website.

Once you’ve approved the mobile site, we make it “live” and add a snippet of code to your desktop site that automatically sends your mobile visitors to the mobile version of your website.

What kinds of features or considerations have you seen and/or experienced that help provide a better mobile web experience?

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.

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