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Websites: Designing For A Mobi World

You can think of it as an exciting challenge in which your web design agency holds an advantage over the competition. Or you can obsess over the fact that the world of mobile web design is evolving at breakneck speed.

Author: hamid malik
Date: Feb 15, 2013 - 6:33:36 AM

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You can think of it as an exciting challenge in which your web design agency holds an advantage over the competition. Or you can obsess over the fact that the world of mobile web design is evolving at breakneck speed.

A fact some find personally unsettling.

Either way, mobi websites arent your fathers Internet. According to Charles Wiseman with Eyetact, the Miami digital media agency and advisor to some of the regions leading companies, “Content is still king, but the much altered new environment of varied user screens decrees that commercial websites need adapt to new realities. Adaptation begins with acceptance that the mobile web is indeed mobile-and that devices within it are increasingly varied.”

In other words, dont overlook whats glaringly obvious on the street.

Online journal mobiThinking, in a recent article named “A Three Step Guide to Usability on the Mobile Web,” lays out some basics in approaching mobile web design.

For instance, as the mobile web is used by people almost constantly in motion-its content and services must reflect this reality in order to have value. Concise information and interaction wins; lengthy dissertations or impossibly complex webpage navigation features do not.

What the article refers to as “ thinking” is clearly no way to approach the task at hand. Specifically, forget about three-column designs, persistent primary and secondary navigation schemes and any reliance at all on Flash. Rethink how content is written and presented, where and how graphics or video are best used-and how to re-deploy navigational aids such as links and buttons.

Something sure to be covered in much detail at this months Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Also to be considered is that bandwidth speeds have to be seriously taken into account in mobi web design. Convoluted click paths at painfully slow speeds quickly build user frustration that results in reduced click through rates. Mobi web designers, above all others, must keep in mind user goals and ensure economy in helping then reach those goals. Faster, more logical mobile information architecture (IA) is the key.

Also: limit content categories, reduce links if at all possible to 10 per page, rigorously avoid aimless links and rationally prioritize those links by activity, theme or popularity.

All this is good advice in any web design environment. In mobile web design it is crucial. “Eyetact devotes a lot of time explicitly testing mobi friendliness in websites, along with creative conversion and overall campaign performance,” notes Charles Wiseman. “But especially a websites mobi friendliness.”

Much of what the future will look like when it comes to mobile web design best practices is yet to be determined. The upside of this is that the challenge of meeting the markets needs can yield opportunities for the truly creative. The downside, of course, is that until best practice guidelines are firmly settled on many of us in the industry will be forced to experiment.

View all articles by hamid malik

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