The ubiquity of mobile devices among the Kiwi population is hardly a notion to be contested. Just walk into any cafe in the city on a weekend during brunch hour and you are guaranteed to be greeted by such a sight – Dads with one eye on the kids and another scanning their phones, teenagers giggling silently while their thumbs move rapidly across a screen.

To be the brand that stands out, businesses have to cater to mobile consumers in order to conquer their hearts and patronage. There simply is no excuse to not get mobile web design right. Whether you are building a new website or redesigning a homepage, our forward-looking web design Auckland agency has 5 useful tips about mobile website design that are bound to future-proof your online presence.

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1. Go responsive.

Even though responsive web design (RWD) is not the only way to build a high-performing website for desktop and mobile devices, it certainly has become the most popular. To offer up a quick explanation, RWD is a way to build a website such that its content and design adapt to varying screen sizes.

For example, Hart Design’s website is responsive. To witness RWD in action, go ahead and resize the browser. You will see that the content on this page shifts, expands, and collapses accordingly such that the article you are currently reading is always accessible, legible, and beautifully presented.

There are many good reasons why you should go responsive, one of which is that RWD tends to be cost-effective as you are essentially building only one website. The alternatives to RWD normally require the creation of device-specific templates and content. This would entail pumping in extra resources to build mobile- and tablet-friendly versions of your website.

2. Get to know your target audience

Before you set out to put pixel to canvas, you should take the time to dig a little deeper and get to know your target audience. After all, how your website looks and feels will depend a great deal on who you are building it for.

Specifically for your mobile website design, you would want to know the devices and web browsers that your target audience is likely to use. Are your users the young and the hip who tend to favour iPhones over Android devices? Do they browse your mobile website using Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox?

These are important details to take note of as they will enable you to decide on the priorities for your mobile website design. For instance, if the visitors to your website are mainly iPhone users, you can focus on optimising the design for the specific screen sizes of the latest iPhone models. On the other hand, if Android users are your primary visitors, you might prefer to opt for a more fluid mobile website design that adapts to the numerous variations of screen sizes.

3. Consistency is key.

It is of utmost importance that your mobile website design is consistent with the style of your homepage and of your brand in general. It should feel a little like walking into The Coffee Club; whether it is at Mission Bay or Albany, the experience always feels comfortingly familiar.

There is nothing more disrupting to the user experience than having inconsistent or even conflicting impressions of a brand. If your mobile website design differs drastically from its desktop version, the user might be mistakenly led to believe that they have landed on the wrong page. This is a surefire way to lose a customer before he even sets one foot in the door.

Consistency is also another reason why our web design Auckland team advocates for going responsive. RWD ensures that your website design remains consistent no matter the device, which will, in turn, avoid a host of potential SEO and user experience mishaps.

4. Navigation matters more than ever.

Websites tend to be information-heavy while mobile devices have limited real estate. Trying to fit all that information in a mobile website can be likened to squeezing all of New Zealand’s residents in an already densely-populated Auckland city. Getting from point A to B becomes a living nightmare.

Therefore, navigation matters more than ever when it comes to mobile website design. This applies especially to ecommerce web design, which often includes many product categories and subcategories. Map out your entire website so that you have a clear vision of its entire structure. Think about what the user would want to achieve on your website and how easy will it be for them to get to where they want to go.

5. Make it easy to capture user input.

“Being able to access content on mobile devices is only half the battle,” according to renowned design guru, Luke Wroblewski. He is right, because we, as mobile users, also want to participate. Let’s face it. Day after day, we rely more on our mobile devices for everyday activities from shopping to communication, many of which require our active input.

A mobile website design that rises above the average is one that is optimised to capture user input. Typing on a small screen is not an easy feat, especially for users who are older or visually impaired. Make it easy for users to engage with your mobile website by following these simple steps:

  • Always use the right keyboards for the different input fields.
  • Ensure that field labels are clearly and properly displayed.
  • Integrate social logins whenever possible.