Websites are made to look great, load quickly, and deliver content in a way that users can digest and appreciate, whatever their topic may be. That having been said, there are always new ways to form your website, from top to bottom. There’s info graphics, layers that can roll over on user interactions, applications, widgets, and a huge arsenal of tools that you can use to communicate simple information. There’s only one problem; is it getting in the way?
A quick look at your own smartphone or tablet will reveal a lot about your own habits and preferences. Where your icons are located, how much clutter is on your very front page, and even your bookmarks will all show you more about what you want from a user experience, and it could reveal what your users are looking for as well.
- Is it easy to navigate? Your own mobile device will reveal the first strength of a user interface, which is, can you actually understand what you’re looking at from an initial glance? Not all symbols and options are explicit, but there are flows that indicate that there is more content if you swipe left or right, or that there are certain applications sitting on the face of the front page, and others that are behind links and icons.
- Is it easy to use? A mobile device is expected to be mobile friendly by default, and by looking at your own device, you can understand why. Swipes, text that is adequately sized, images that are scaled properly to your resolution, and even choice of margin and border dimensions all work together to create a more cohesive mobile experience. If your site doesn’t have these things taken into consideration, then you could be cutting down on the experience of a very sizable and growing demographic of users that primarily, or even solely, browse the internet through their device.
- Is it too much? There’s lots of ways to add more content to a mobile presentation, but there are just as many ways to add too much clutter. Clutter can be distracting at best, and at worst, introduces the potential for programming conflicts that can lead to reduced functionality, more processing burdens, and other issues that can turn mobile users away. Know when enough is enough when it comes to features, especially for mobile.
The take away from this exercise is to see what’s been under your nose the entire time; you can’t design a mobile site for functionality and looks without looking at what you actually use, how you would make a change, and just how practical a solution may be once you actually deploy it for your mobile users. If you take the time to test any ideas that you have for a mobile responsive site on an actual mobile device, you will have a much stronger understanding of what to add, or what to take away, based on your experience.