Contrary to the common thought that mobile web design and full screen web design differ, there are indeed five common important factors of mobile web design must possess: Meaningful navigation, Focusing on content, Feedback, Clear branding and Space..
1. Meaningful navigation
First of all, navigation must enable visual interaction. The design should look like buttons, lists or arrows. Labelling comes the seconds, so make sure labels appear meaningful to the users: buttons should own a recognizable name. Also, keep in mind that less navigation does not facilitate users.
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Another thing, to make labelling understandable and practical, try to avoid adding up everything in one label. As graphic presents a better visual balance, using icons is the simplest way to communicate information. Mobile devices provide an interesting environment to work with icons and improve user experience. Moreover, icons and well-defined labelling will give users an informative and clear path.
2. Focusing on content
The mobile site cannot get easier to use just by simply removing contents. Instead of leaving them out, you should re-focus and re-purpose them by breaking them into small parts or presenting them as bullet points. Some visual effects that can help complement text elements include: using icons alongside the headings, applying infographic for the explanation, highlighting important parts, using the light-colour background to facilitate the identification of different contents, etc.
User feedback is important for all website types, especially for the mobile web. Since no browser crutches are supported, providing clear feedback when interaction occurs is very important. Normally for most mobile devices, we are given a visual reaction as the only option of interaction. Some visual reaction in interacting with users can be listed as: using colours to mark selected or activated areas, applying fade-in and fade-out effects or border colors/gradients on buttons when touched.
4. Clear branding
Brand design is among critical factors that impress the users. Even when there is not much space in mobile web, corporate logo should always be included in the design. Whichever method you apply to design logo, two factors that must be guaranteed are LOGO and the COLOR SCHEME that represents the brand. The allocation of logo can vary relying on different versions of the screens and it may be located on the main homepage. And the color scheme takes effect only when it is used throughout the pages of the website.
A small but important detail to remember is that, since mobile web browsers do not have title or URL bars to remind users of their whereabouts, your brand design is even more important.
No matter how small the screen is, you still have spaces for your design. Space is the key factor in any well-designed pattern. To reach readability and usability, all elements like buttons, navigation, icons, contents, etc. should be distinctly designed and appropriately framed. Putting efforts in limiting the contents to afford white space, using large fonts or avoiding padding to narrow the contents do not enhance user experience. Besides, building a mobile website, of which spaces play an important role, requires careful planning to bring about proper user experience.
- Read more: What makes a complete mobile site
To utilize space to create better user experience, you can use small fonts with more space surrounding them rather than using large-sized letters being pressed together, or use a clear grid with white space between elements to separate them.