Mobile internet browsing has long surpassed desktop browsing. 2016 will be a big year in the mobile domain. Stellar mobile user experiences will be the deciding factor between winners and also-rans in this space. It has been a long practice to somehow fit the desktop design on to the mobile screen. But that is not going to work anymore.
Here’s a six-point synopsis to win it big in a ‘mobile-first’ world:
Phones demand a different navigation than the typical desktop navigation. Touch is the main interface for human interaction and all navigation has to be designed keeping this in mind. People use only one hand at most times and so all the swipes, scrolls and clicks will have to be accomplished in a hassle-free way by the user.
Drop down menus
Make the best use of the small screen size. Keep all menus as drop down features to avoid flooding the screen with menu items. Also having multi level menus does not work as expected on the mobile screen. All things have to be readily available. People are always short on time and you cannot expect them to navigate to the end of a 4 level menu to find out what you have written. Make use of icons to highlight anything you want the users to find out prominently.
Fluid design layouts
Mobile phones come in all sizes and screen resolutions. Thus the content cannot be expected to be viewed only on a certain screen size and resolution. Fluid designs are the way to go. This ensures that regardless of the phone size and resolution the content can be viewed without any stretching or other distortions. Another aspect to keep in mind while designing is to make sure the content can be viewed both in the landscape and the portrait mode optimally.
Go for minimal text inputs
Typing on the virtual keyboards on a mobile phone is still a nightmare. This especially comes into picture when there are lengthy forms to be filled. So as a rule of thumb keep forms small and simple. It is a good idea to pre-fill the forms and use auto-fill options wherever possible. Do not export the desktop form onto the mobile. Use innovative features like using a visual calendar instead of expecting the users to type in the date.
Lesser number of images
Images for the mobile screen have to be chosen very judiciously. If not done properly they just increase the page load time and make the site look bloated. It is a good idea to drop all the fancy image styles, gradients and special effects. They don’t work well for the mobile form factor. Even if any of the images are not pixel perfect it is not a cause for much concern. Also using text in the form of an image has to be avoided at all times.
Utilize the mobile-only features
This is the best part of designing for the mobile screen. You get to benefit from all the features that are available only on the mobile phone. Using a ‘tap to call’ goes very well when you want the users to call directly from the phone. All phones can benefit from the location-based features. Hence you can conveniently give directions for your business enterprise and let the users follow it using the phones GPS functionality. There are loads of other features like Gyroscope and accelerometers which can also be exploited to give a world-class mobile experience to the users.