In the last 18 months there has been a massive shift with users more commonly doing the majority of their online activity on a mobile device.  Designers have had to become more familiar with user experience, and more importantly creating mobile friendly designs.  User Experience has by far become one of the single most important elements of web design. There are now more mobile devices in the market than ever before.

Any site that struggles with user experience is going to struggle to be competitive within the digital arena.

Its amazing that even today we see more and more sites that are not mobile responsive. That or it’s the other end of the spectrum and they do have a mobile responsive website but its super slow to load. Either way it’s a loose, loose and unfortunately you will just be driving customers directly away from your site, and likely to a competitor site.

Mobile First

We’ve heard it time and time again, but mobile first really does mean mobile first.

Starting the design process with a mobile device will really focus the intention of your mobile proposition. It makes you rank your content from the most important down to the least important elements. You can then start to build your site from the mobile up knowing that all core elements have been built into the mobile experience.  There are 1.2 billion mobile web users worldwide and this number is only going to get bigger.

Call to action, navigation and key assets need to be delivered aesthetically, but it also needs to be really easy to use.  Once you have got the mobile design developed, then its time to start scaling up the design to other devices.

Understand design fluidity

If you try and design for every possible screen size, it will likely take you all year to complete your design work.  Understanding fluid layouts will allow you to create a design that will adapt to various devices seamlessly. These layouts work on percentages as opposed to pixel width. Getting to grips with fluid layouts can take time, but that time invested will pay off in the long run.  Ensuring that every user can view your site on any device is invaluable.

Form follows function

A term that we hear time and time again, especially in design, form must follow function. The same applies to our website. Don’t get me wrong, we all want a super cool, clean looking website, but it MUST be functional. When we scale this down to mobiles, this becomes even more important. Users need to be able to quickly navigate, and carry out key functions. Navigation should be simple and easy to use. Key functions must be responsive, its no good having a booking system for example that is non responsive. It simply wont work.

Whether it is navigation, purchasing a product or writing a product review these functions must be well designed, easy to use and clearly actionable on mobile.

Understand who your user is

Understanding user behaviour will allow you to optimise your website to suit the key functions and requirements of your customer. There are generally two types of user. ‘Casual Browsers’ these tend to have no definitive action in mind, and will happily scan through your website. ‘Task Performers’ this type of user has landed at your website to perform a task. Each user will have different requirements of the website, and its your job to ensure they are able to navigate and execute all they wish as easily as possible.

All Access Required

Where possible we would advise that all content must be available to mobile users. Sometimes you see that sites have been ‘slimmed’ down for the mobile version but we do not see this as best practice. We have even seen that in some cases this has back fired and lost customers.  This usually happens when the design process is more traditional and has been designed for desktop first. Its only when they check the responsive version that it seems cluttered and start to chop and change.  If the process had started with the mobile first, then this could have easily been avoided.

Design for the device

Its very important to remember that a user with a mobile will only have their hands as a mouse. Far too often, we see mobile designs with incredibly small buttons, links squeezed really close together and nearly unusable for anyone with an average sized finger.  Contact Forms should be easy to fill in and a user shouldn’t be required to zoom in to complete the form. Visit your website with the intention that you are a new customer, navigate between pages, and test some of the call to actions. If at any point you find yourself, pinching, zooming or becoming stuck then there is certainly room for improvement.

Grey Coffee is a digital agency, that offers a range of professional creative services to businesses in Nottingham and all over the UK.

We pride ourselves as web design and web development experts.

We are happy to talk through any new projects or how we can support your business needs.

If you would like to get in touch with us, then email us or call us 0115 798 0699