Mobile Responsive Web Design

Did you know that 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online are spent on a mobile device?

Browsing the web from a handheld device has become so common that Google now defaults to mobile-first indexing for new websites.  It’s critical that business websites are optimized for mobile usage; those that do not will increasingly miss out on attracting and converting visitors.

Designing your website for responsiveness ensures that it will look great when viewed on any device.  This article will explain the specifics of a well-designed website and share some tips you can quickly do to optimize your site for use on desktops, tablets, smartphones, and anything in between.

What makes a website responsive?

Responsive websites are built in a way that automatically adjusts to the screen size of whoever is viewing them.  All websites are built using HTML code-a responsive site typically uses additional CSS coding to display different variations of the content based on the user’s screen size.

In the first quarter of 2020, over 50% of all internet traffic around the world came from mobile devices.  Although the work-from-home trend during the pandemic has brought that number down slightly since then, it’s clear that most of us are spending at least half our time on the internet on our phones and tablets.  

Here are some reasons why mobile design is so important:

94% of first impressions relate to a site’s web design, and 89% of consumers will shop with a competitor after a poor user experience.  This means that you have one chance to impress your visitors when they visit your website.  If your text is too small or they can’t find the contact button, they will leave.  

Some elements will look great on a desktop browser, but not on mobile.  That beautiful full-width image slideshow might be one more thing a visitor has to scroll past on their phone to find the “buy now” button, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to find it.

Google ranks websites based on user experience (among other things) and a mobile-friendly website will rank higher in search results than a competitor site that has not been optimized for mobile use.

What makes a website mobile-friendly?

The biggest difference in user experience between devices is the layout-a desktop computer has a horizontal screen, while a mobile device is typically viewed vertically.   A tablet can be used either way.  It’s important to adjust a website’s elements accordingly, so that they aren’t squeezed in and barely visible on a mobile screen.  This typically involves simplifying some design elements so they don’t take up unnecessary space.

On a desktop display, it’s fine to have a landscape layout with elements side by side.  On a mobile device, however, this is simply not practical.  Users do not want to have to scroll side to side as well as up and down on their devices to read and see content.  Stacking elements on top of each simplifies the user experience.  

Here are some tips for best-practice mobile web design.

Back to Top buttons

Adding a “back to top” button to the mobile design helps visitors navigate if the page has a lot of content and images.  If a user has to scroll up more than a few times to return back to the main menu, they are more likely to get frustrated and leave the site.

Using a Simple Menu

A typical menu with several dropdowns probably won’t fit across the top of a mobile device without sacrificing the legibility of the text size.  Using a menu icon, which when tapped displays the menu on screen with legible text.

Consider Text Size

Check to make sure the text is easily readable on a handheld device (but also not so big that it looks to be meant for elderly folks-unless that’s your target market!)  Also check to make sure that all of the text is contained on the page and users aren’t having to scroll side to side to see it all.

Add or enlarge the search bar for complex sites

If the website is complex, i.e. a product catalog with many items, a search function at the top of the page will help visitors find what they are looking for more quickly.  It’s more difficult to sort through several product categories on a mobile device and a search bar will enhance user experience.

As more and more online traffic comes from handheld devices, it has become crucial for any business to invest in updating their website to mobile-responsive design.  The world of technology moves extremely quickly, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up.  

Business owners looking to reach new customers should consider hiring a professional web designer to ensure their websites are kept up to date on responsiveness, for both design and SEO purposes.  This will ensure that your site is user-friendly across all devices, and ultimately boost sales.  

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