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5 Fundamentals of Mobile Web Design


Source: Unsplash 
 
From popping a quick question to our friend Google when we’re in doubt to keeping up with the latest news and performing extensive research on what to consider when designing a website – mobile is our preferred choice to go online. 
 
Actually, there is a 54.18% chance you’re reading this very article from a smartphone – at least according to Statista’s data on global online traffic share. 
 
Crafting a stylish, reliable, and user-friendly design for mobile devices will improve your visitors’ user experience and boost your website’s performance in the search engine results page (SERP) – think Google’s mobile-first indexing. 
 
We’ve chatted with designers and SEO specialists from a San Diego web design agency who shared their tips on designing a website for mobile that appeases Google and satisfies users alike. 
 
 
What is Mobile Web Design? 
 
A mobile-friendly website indicates a specific design and optimization of a site that is tailored for handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets. 
 
Mobile-friendliness has been the buzzword in the digital world for quite some time, at least until responsive design entered the stage. 
 
Unlike mobile-friendliness, which basically means a desktop website fit for use across devices, responsiveness implies complete flexibility regardless of the device that’s being used.  
 
As its name suggests, responsive websites ‘respond’ to the size of the screen of the device they’re viewed on. 
 
What does it mean in practice? 
 
Generally, mobile-friendly (or responsive) websites have elements stacked on top of each other – usually with quite deep or even infinite scroll – with much less overall space between page elements and larger buttons and text size. 
 
Yet, as 80% of the top-ranked websites are reported to be mobile-friendly, vertical layout and oversized buttons simply don’t cut it anymore. Designing for an amazing user experience is way past creating a responsive website.  
 
Therefore, here are five expert tips on mobile web design that actually make a difference. 
 
Simplify Your Menu 
You want your users to move around the website. So why hinder that with an unhelpful and futile menu design? 
 
The menu is oftentimes lost on designers, who rather focus on designing the page elements tailored to mobile screens. However, an intuitive, easily accessible, and understandable menu is the foundation of your lead generation because no one will grant you your trust and money based on viewing a single page of your website. 
 
So, what does an amazing menu for a mobile website look like? 
 
Well, it fits the screen size without the need to zoom it in or out. It’s clearly visible yet doesn’t hinder user focus on the content. It’s simple, presents an overview of the site pages, and guides users on their journey towards conversion. 
 
The majority of mobile-friendly websites use the hamburger menu – a symbol consisting of two or three horizontal lines. When clicked, a hamburger menu usually opens a fullscreen menu that’s easier to both read and click.  
 
As around 90% of people are right-handed, the hamburger menu is mostly located at the top-right part of the screen. 
 
Facilitate Search  
A well-designed menu eases users’ flow through the website. However, it often isn’t enough for them to find the specific info they’re after. 
 
To alleviate users’ research on the website, you can create categories, filters, or the search feature to hone in on what they’re looking for. 
 
The search bar is usually located front and center so that the users can effortlessly access it at any moment. 
 
Source: Unsplash 
 
Make Contacting You Effortless 
According to Zendesk’s 2019 study, 84% of consumers noted customer service as a deciding factor in opting to purchase from the brand. 
 
From issues with the website to inquiries regarding the ordering process, consumers can ask you literally anything, and they sure expect you to answer their questions.  
 
Contact info, such as email, phone number, and address (if applicable), are a must. However, on mobiles, this means switching to another app to continue the conversation, which many users are reluctant to. Instead, they may feel disheartened and annoyed and abandon the purchase entirely. 
 
But how do you counter this scenario? 
 
Welcome chatbots.  
 
Whether you develop a custom chat solution, or simply integrate a chatbot of an already existing messaging app, providing users with instant and useful feedback is a giant leap in improving their user experience. 
 
Cut the Pop-Ups 
As a part of their efforts to assure the best possible mobile web UX, Google’s 2017 algorithm update began penalizing websites that serve pop-ups on mobile website versions. 
 
Pop-ups should not cover the main content of the website, nor should it be obligatory to dismiss them before accessing the content.  
 
However, in cases such as GDPR, cookie policy, or login window, a pop-up window is inevitable. Thus, to avoid a red card both from Google and users, make sure the pop-up is useful and really needed. 
 
While integrating your site with a platform to utilize email marketing is still a crucial part of having success, be very mindful of how you’re getting visitors to sign up to your list as search engines pay more attention to this now than in the past. 
 
Leave Space Between Elements 
How many times has it happened to you that you click on the wrong button on a website? Did you go to some random ad, never again to return the website you’ve been researching? 
 
Apparently, this happens too many times to users. Google responded by announcing Core Web Vitals as one of the ranking factors, coming within the summer 2021 set of search engine updates.  
 
Specifically, CLS, or Cumulative Layout Shift, page layout shifts during the loading phase, is the element of the Core Web Vitals that measures UX related to this issue of clicking the wrong page element. 
 
However, CLS isn’t the only thing to be worried about. Even the perfect Cumulative Layout Sfift score doesn’t mean your users don’t click the incorrect elements. 
 
How so? 
 
Lack of white space, i.e., the area between the elements, images, text, icons, and buttons on a web page, may lead to users’ accidentally clicking on an element they didn’t want to.  
 
White space is important in creating a balance between page elements, thus helping users navigate through the content – but also in preventing them from clicking something they didn’t mean to. 
 
Wrapping Up 
A good mobile web design is more than just a mobile-friendly, responsive version of your desktop site.  
 
Creating a professional web design tailored to Google’s and users’ expectations alike requires in-depth planning, testing, and following the latest web practices. 
 
If anything seems daunting, consider partnering with a web design, content and branding agency that will guide you through the process.

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Anurag Rastogi

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