Mobile technology is quickly taking over from desktop computing. As a matter of fact, it is projected that mobile computing will overtake desktop computing in a matter of years. In line with this, it is necessary for every web designer and webmaster to familiarize themselves with the concepts behind mobile web design. A good understanding of these concepts, especially the mobile web development features and friendly design elements are going to be crucial to your ability to succeed online.
Benefits of mobile web design
In order to understand why mobile web design is so vital, let us take a look at the advantages it provides:
- Mobile web design ensures that your website is mobile friendly. This increases the range of visitors and, therefore, increases your overall web traffic. The visitors to your website will be able to interact with it and your content fully as the website functions correctly on mobile devices. If your website is used for online commerce, this translates into increased sales conversions.
- More people are accessing business websites on the go as they seek to find the service and product providers. This means that an entire market of mobile based consumers opens up to your business if you use mobile web development correctly.
- Mobile web design is a stepping stone to mobile apps and software development. The increased use of smartphones means that brands are expanding well beyond websites into mobile apps for services and products. However, mobile apps are only effective if there is mobile web development acting as a backbone for the service.
- You give your company more credibility and authority when you present it as conversant with proper mobile web design through a cutting edge website and embracing mobile technology fully.
- Mobile web design allows you to branch better into the world of social media, which is almost exclusively interacted with from mobile devices. Social media presence and competence have become a fundamental part of the online equation for any business.
Fundamentals of mobile web design success
There is no downside to mobile web design so do not be fooled by misleading information. A large majority of the failure stories of mobile web development stem from a failure to execute the development project without an understanding of mobile web design fundamentals. This causes you to run into a number of pitfalls which end up lowering the success level of the project overall. Here are several fundamentals that you have to keep in mind when doing mobile web development:-
- You need a professional mobile web developer to undertake the project. This is not some home DIY project that you can afford to mess up. Invest in the right design and development agency to ensure that you get the right expertise in this field. Otherwise, your investment will go to waste.
- Mobile web technology is an evolving field. This means that you must stay updated on the current trends and latest developments. As the devices change and become more powerful, you need to update your mobile website to cater to them effectively.
- Mobile websites are a necessity for a majority but not all of the businesses. You need to do a feasibility study in order to understand what the potential return on investment is likely to be. However, for the sake of professionalism it is a terrific idea for you to keep abreast of the latest developments in this field and to have a mobile website. If you find that it may not be as useful to your business, do not scrap the project but rather reduce the total amount of investment in this project. This will lower overall expectations on return on investment.
Features of Mobile Web Development
Now that you are aware of what you are getting into, here are the key features that need to be covered in your mobile site development project.
Before embarking on a mobile web development project, there is a need to do research on your web traffic statistics. You need to access Google Analytics or a similar tool which tracks the source of your web traffic. This will allow you to identify the percentages of your web traffic that originate from mobile devices. This information is what will inform the resource allocation to the mobile web development project. It will also help you determine which devices you need to cater to later in the testing phase.
2. Create CSS style sheet
A CSS style sheet enables you to manage the content and layout of your website for mobile devices. A separate style sheet is needed for your mobile website to ensure that there is no duplication between it and the desktop version of the website. Duplication damages search engine credibility and lowers the results ranking for your webpage. Furthermore, it will also make updating of the website quite easy to do.
3. New Content
Duplication of content leads to a site downgrade by search engines. The crawlers are unable to tell that the mobile and desktop versions of your website are actually linked. What you need to do is to create entirely new content for the mobile site. Take into consideration the relative size of mobile screens and ensure that the content is in a format that is easily visible. Google Webmaster Tools are a decent starting place when you are setting editorial guidelines for your website.
4. Avoid multimedia content unless absolutely necessary
Multimedia content, while visually appealing, is to be avoided on mobile websites. This is because you need to consider the lowest common denominator of device performance and network connection capacities. Not all devices and networks are equal; therefore, design and develop with the worst case scenario in mind in order to ensure that the experience is enjoyable all across the board.
5. App development linkage
At some point, you may want to create an app for your business. You need to factor this into the mobile web development project. The mobile website is what the app will link to, so it needs to be factored into the overall design. These apps can be quite useful in getting products and services to the consumer so make sure that you cater to them adequately.
6. Avoid Flash scripts
Opera provides a formidable tool for the testing phase. It is called the Opera Mobile Emulator and allows you to change your device point of view. This allows you to test the performance of the website on a number of different devices and screen sizes. You can also test the website for touch screen phones and various resolutions.
This will result in a successful mobile web development venture for you.
About the author:
Mayank Kaushik is a Business Manager from RiaEnjolie.com. RiaEnjolie offers high-impact small business Websites as well as eCommerce Website development to help grow your businesses. You may follow them on twitter@RiaEnjolie