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Mobile Web Design – Best Practises / Considerations

Mobile is not the web .. Some important mobile web design best practises / considerations

  • Know your audience – Research your audience so that you can design the site around them.
  • Minimize Design – Keep Design / content to a minimum, remembering that users are limited to what they can view and do (in the sense of type) with mobile phones
  • Sub-domain – It is becoming more common for companies to use sub-domain or separate folder on main domain than .mobi – as centralized content on one domain can be less confusing for users to follow (and more straigthforward for designers / admin , too, although this is of secondary importance). However, there are still some who think .mobi gives the impression you’re focused on giving a specific mobile experience as opposed to mobile just being an extension of the web experience.
  • Frames / tables / CSS - Avoid frames (often not supported / causes usability problems) and tables (restricts ability to adapt for various devices and increase page size). Use CSS for layout.
  • Coding - Code with HTML / XHTML (the older WML is more-a-less obsolete now in Europe / America).
  • Viewing / different phones - Consider how images will look according to mobile phone type
  • Buttons – Give users options of buttons to avoid excess typing, as well as using buttons to help in navigation
  • Navigation – Not too many links (you only have limited space), add navigation buttons, also, minimize vertical scrolling (scrolling is difficult in mobile environment because of small viewable size) and eliminate horizontal scrolling (having two scrolling directions is really confusing, and horizontal scrolling is more confusing than vertical scrolling). Make sure links and buttons etc .. are big enough so that it is easy to touch them.
  • Amount of images – Because of the internet, users in general are accustomed to lots of visual content and mobile internet connections are improving all the time. Nevertheless, designers still have to remember that mobile is not the web (less viewable space / connection issues and so on).
  • Colour contrast - Getting colour contrast right is important on mobile, as it’s easy for colours to clash, and as you have limited viewing space sp the content could be difficult to take in
  • Pop-ups – Avoid pop-up windows as they can get-in-the-way of user experience.
  • Content in order of importance - Put the most important information at the top of the site (simply because you’re limited, compared to web, about highlighting the most important content
  • Test – Keep testing – there are lots of testing tools (i.e. emulators) available.

Mobile web design best practises / considerations – spotlightideas.co.uk – 2010

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