Jun
19
2011

Mobile Web Design ? Sand Traps to Avoid ? Part 3

Mobile Web Design ? Sand Traps to Avoid ? Part 3

As our series on mobile web design draws to a close, there’s one last factor that absolutely must be considered within the industry – the challenges many businesses face. It simply isn’t enough to walk into the process blind. In fact, it’s not even enough to hire another firm to do it for you. You must be able to guide that firm in the mobile web image you’re looking for before you begin issuing instructions and reviewing drafts, and doing so without an understanding of the common challenges faced within the world of mobile web design is foolish, to say the least. Here are just a few of the typical problems others have encountered on the long path to success.

Overlooking Essential Elements

You’re dealing with an environment in which screen space is highly restricted. Connection speeds are also often questionable from location to location. As a result, including every feature your typical website does is absolutely out of the question and choosing which elements you want to include and which ones aren’t essential components is a must with mobile website design. The key here is to decide on the main objective of your mobile site before you ever speak to your designers. What is it that you want visitors to do once they reach your site? Should they buy tickets to your attraction online? Should they call you to schedule an appointment? Distill the goal of your mobile site, and you’ll understand what’s essential to the mobile version.

Evaluating Content

Along with the elements of any good site goes the need for solid content, and this is as true in the world of mobile sites as it is anywhere else. The key with mobile sites, however, is that you have to have enough content to keep your readers happy, but not so much as to make your site too long or have horrible download speeds in areas where the connection is questionable. Every site viewed on a smartphone has to be short, to the point, and for reference only. If your content doesn’t serve your ultimate goal, dump it for the mobile site.

Adding Color

Think back a little more than a decade, and begin to consider what the web once looked like. Many businesses that were beginning to establish a web presence were using horrific WYSIWYG editors that allowed them to choose from a range of colors to design sites that were nothing less than difficult to view for more than about thirty seconds. As market research began pouring in on how offensive these sites were to many customers, most turned back to a higher level of professionalism, adjusted their color schemes, and began to create visually pleasing sites that accomplished the task at hand.

Unfortunately, there are color considerations to be dealt with as mobile websites enter the world of important marketing tools as well. Used well, color can visually speak to your audience without taking up any additional, and very precious, space. Best practices, however, suggest that anything that can be done with color, should also be done well without color. While almost every smartphone on the market today has a color screen, it shouldn’t be an integral part of your message.

When you are attempting to make some color-based decisions, here are the best possible practices:

– Offer sufficient contrast between the foreground and background.

– Add color to help move readers from one section to the next.

– Employ a bit of color to enhance usability for visitors.

Testing – More Complex Than You Might Imagine

In the very first part of this series, we mentioned that one of the most complex aspects to mobile web design is overcoming the number of different browsers that are popping up, and testing your site carefully is an essential aspect. As more companies enter the market, there are more browsers to consider, and it’s not really something you can overcome on your own. What you can do, however, is make the testing process a bit smoother by reducing the level of complexity your site involves. The more efficient your design, the less difficult testing has to be in the long run.

Mobile web design is an absolute must as things change in the world of online marketing, but it’s not without its problems. This series has tried to point out a few important things to consider during the building process, and as you contact the firm or designer who will help your company find its new mobile web image, take the knowledge with you on the journey.

Moonrise Productions is a web design company specializing in both custom web development and design. Whether you need social network web design or mobile web development, contact us and we’ll get it done right!

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