Best Practices for the Mobile Web
Mobile content management specialist MoFuse shares what to do, what to avoid.
Publishers may be well-schooled with "traditional" websites but the mobile web is a different beast and still a training ground for many content providers. Here, Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse, a specialist in mobile content management that works with publishers ranging from Harvard Business Review to InformationWeek, offers a series of best practices for entering the mobile web, as well as a few tips on what to avoid.
Best Practices for Mobile Web Design:
➢Design for "Getting to the Point" Quickly: Mobile People have little time to find information. They will be impatient if you put many slow loading pictures or graphics or if they can’t figure out where to find information on your site in an instance. You don’t want too much downloading to happen before they can get to your information.
➢ Design for Finding Information Efficiently: Mobile viewers are often going for something specific, a function or bit of information from you. Rarely are they meandering or surfing the way someone might do on the desktop web. As you think about the most likely items that they will want to access from you in a mobile mode, you should consider putting those functions at the top of the site.
➢ Call to Action – Make it Easy: Most people read a mobile site from the top then scroll down to the bottom of the site, quickly. If you have a primary call to action, place this at both the top and bottom of the website. That way once they have scrolled to the bottom of the site, the key message you want to deliver is still in front of them.
➢ Design for Easy Interaction: Mobile devices have difficult input (tiny keys, small touch screen for example), don’t make your visitors struggle. Click to call or Click to SMS are great examples of making the site easy for viewers. Avoid convoluted paths to get to essential information (don’t nest pages of information unnecessarily). If you can manage it, don’t make them scroll down more than 3 times, this is a good rule of thumb when designing mobile.
➢ Help Your Customers Find Your Mobile Site: Use automatic detection and redirection code on your desktop site in order to ensure that when someone uses the better known URL (the desktop URL), it will automatically display the mobile site. Use a custom domain such as "m.mofuse.com" to better direct traffic to mobile. Use QR codes at every customer touch-point in order to direct traffic to your mobile site.
Things to Avoid:
➢ Don’t Forget the Variations of Handsets: There are around 5200 handsets in the world today. Consider how your design will work on screens from 2 inches to 5 inches. For example, don’t add side by side images because on some phones these will not appear as you intended – they may wrap and become misaligned.
➢ Don’t Use Heavy or Many Pictures – The journey of your mobile website to the viewers handset is a complex one. Consider carriers, hosting providers, browsers and operating systems, not to mention the actual hardware on the phone. To keep the display journey swift – don’t use a lot of heavy images. Some images are wonderful to keep that site interesting. Just be cautious and remember the journey.
➢ Don’t Wait – Your customers are expecting to find your brand on the mobile web today. There are many easy ways to get started. Like when your company built its very first website,there is tremendous learning that needs to occur by being mobile now. Build, test, iterate – then optimize your mobile web touchpoint.