Mobile marketing is here to stay, which means so is a responsive design. Why? Site visitors expect a similar user experience every time they log onto the site, regardless of the platform they use. If they don’t get it, or the display is otherwise problematic, they are much more likely to leave without taking any action. So, whether creating a mobile website or designing mobile web apps, getting the responsive design piece of it right should be at the top of the list of priorities. To assist in that endeavor, here are a handful of tips and tricks to keep in mind.
Tips to Improve Your Responsive Web Design
1. Think Mobile First
If the business website hasn't yet been created, it is a good idea to design it from a ‘mobile first’ point of view. That way, it will be easier to identify and arrange the relevant and beneficial content and graphics and eliminate the visual clutter that turns off so many consumers.
Often, a business wants to populate each pixel, believing that every void must be filled. However, that causes load time delays across the board and creates a messy aesthetic. When a website is designed from a mobile first perspective, it can be built up and expanded for bigger devices while helping filter out unnecessary content.
2. Streamline the Content
Streamlining the user’s mobile experience vastly improves load times and decreases bounce rates. When considering what to include on each mobile web page, think in terms of simple graphics and with a singular focus for each page. Include only relevant information, and don’t pollute the page with ads or other unnecessary content. Consider adding a link to more information, but the page itself should only display actionable and single-subject specific content. In short, include only the essentials.
3. Search Option
While there will be a lot of information that can easily be left off a mobile website or mobile web app, the search function is not one of them. Regardless of which platform or device the site visitor is using to access the site, there should be a non-invasive, but easy to spot, search option. Mobile users are on the go and if they've reached your site, but not the correct page, they need a fast way to get the information they went to your website to find. The search feature is a simple way to improve the UX and keep them on your site.
4. Image Optimization
Images are responsible for eating up the majority of the bytes on a web page. So, they are key culprits in slow loading times and high bounce rates. Simplifying a page doesn't mean that it should be boring to the end user, though. On the contrary, the goal here is to enhance the UX, and images can play a role in that effort. If you are going to include images, however, compress them to reduce loading times and make sure they are optimized for mobile devices.
5. CTA and Contact Forms
When developing a responsive site, it is, of course, important to test readability across all platforms. However, that’s not enough. Areas that require information or action from the consumer, such as the contact form or other call-to-action (CTA), will need to be designed a bit differently for each device.
It is fine to ask a consumer to complete a form when he’s accessing your site from his desktop or laptop. However, when it comes to a mobile phone, consider an abbreviated version that asks only for the information relevant to the end goal. For example, if the user is signing up for a newsletter, all that’s really needed is his email address.
In mid-2013, online shoppers who used mobile devices surpassed desktop device users, with the division being 55% on a mobile device and 45% on a laptop or desktop. When more than half of all prospective customers are using mobile devices to access retail websites, effective, responsive web design becomes more important than ever. Even if a business is not in the retail sector, the increase in and prevalence of mobile web access should be enough to convince any business owner that getting a responsive design right is critical to the growth of his business.
About Author: Beata GREEN is Managing Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London-based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for the overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth.