Guest Post: Six design tips for businesses going mobile

by Ariel Fredrickson, a vp with WompMobile

So, you’ve made the decision to go mobile – offering your customers a website that is viewable and accessible on a smartphone. The next step, however, is building a mobile website that captures users and is simple to operate on a small screen. Just like regular websites, Steve Krug’s sage advice still applies: – don’t make people think when visiting your site. The computer-human interaction should be simple and promote usability. Be direct, offer quality interaction and be succinct. Below are six helpful tips to create a mobile website that works for you.

1. Function over form

Unlike desktop websites packed full of design assets, animation and even music, mobile websites should be the complete opposite.

While ‘design flare’ may be impressive on a big screen, it can crowd and confuse users swiping their small screens.

Function is King, and mobile websites should be simple and clearly display a user’s options.

This can be accomplished by using big buttons, straightforward navigation and focus on action, rather than the artistry.

2. Mobile-only features

Mobile users expect certain features. When developing your mobile websites consider a click-to-call button, Google-map enabled directions and posting store hours on the homepage.

These features should be easily identified on the homepage and cater to the needs of mobile users.

Also, don’t be afraid to leave out info or pages not relevant to mobile users for the mobile site.

3. Don’t abandon your brand

Just because you’re confined to a small screen does not mean your branding is out the window.

You’ve probably invested time, energy and money to develop your image – so make it work for you with mobile.

Be wary of one-size-fits-all solutions that force you into generic templates. Your brand is important, so keep it.

When developing your mobile site, be sure to include your logo, colours, messages and overall look and feel. Alignment between your regular website and mobile is important.

4. Touch screen navigation

It’s a finger not a mouse that makes clicks on a mobile website. Touch screen navigation lends to the “don’t make me think” design approach, which requires bigger buttons and larger font type.

Users should not have to squint or struggle to click or view content on your mobile website.

In fact, if the site is hard to navigate – and designed poorly – users are very likely to leave and turn to a competitor.

5. No pop-ups please

A quick way to drive customers away from your mobile site is pop-ups.

Although it can be an effective method to gather data or subscribers on a desktop site, it will likely end your relationship with mobile customers.

6. Know your customers

Mobile users have different habits. Take advantage of mobile web analytics to tailor your strategy.

Analyse where your customers are coming from, what drives them to your site, clicking habits and adjust your messaging and design to improve retention.

When going mobile, make sure to build a site that is analytics friendly.

Mobile devices offer another platform to connect to your customers, but not all website are created equal. And they won’t all yield the same results for your business.

There are plenty of options to help you go mobile, consider these tips when you ready to take that step.

Author biog

Ariel Fredrickson is vp of business development with WompMobile, an online service that converts desktop websites to mobile friendly. WompMobile was founded in 2010 and is based in Bellingham, WA [USA].

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