We have a new age of handheld mobile devices, including smartphones, pads, and tablets. Yet many of our design ideas still come from the old world Internet populated entirely by computers and laptops. If your site hasn’t had a makeover in more than five years, it’s as good as closed as far as the mobile web is concerned. Here’s a list of ways your site needs to be improved to meet the mobile user’s needs:
- Fast load times. Unlike computer users, mobile web users just do not have the time to stand around waiting for your site or app to load. Keep the bandwidth way, way down from what you used to load, and users will come back more often.
- Limit text data fields. For instance, instead of making each user fill out their life history to sign up with you, let them auto-sign-in with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Disqus, and so on.
- Brevity is the soul of usability. That is, on the mobile end, you need to screen out a lot of text and focus on the basics. For instance, your restaurant’s website doesn’t have space to rave on about the scenery or traditions – a mobile user wants to know the location and hours.
- Design for fingers, not the mouse. This means nice big buttons and icons, so even grandma with her fat stubby fingers can navigate.
- Design for tiny screens. Should go without saying. One non-obvious point is letting the user zoom something in – so they can see the image on your page on a tiny screen.
Remember, mobile users aren’t just using a smaller screen on a device with less memory – they’re also browsing while walking, using an elevator, getting on and off a train, or other “on the go” use. That’s why they’re mobile, right?