Mobile Websites, Part 1

Technology continues to drive more and more changes toward the use of mobile user-friendly devices. It is portable. It offers ease of adaptability. Its ability to support web based platforms, as well as faster connections at a cheaper cost makes it more popular than desktops. It is important to note that a single device can support different mobile web browsers and be used across different platforms, making design considerations as well as testing impractical. This makes the work of designers and developers difficult.

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Both cell phones and desktops can be categorized as devices. However, the underlying technology used to make them differs, ultimately varying their use, even though both leverage the Internet as a common tool.

Features including videos, large images, and Flash animation can be included on desktops, but not mobile devices due to small screen sizes. Mobile devices can however pinpoint locations thanks to the GPS feature. The ability to tap on a phone number from a website for instant connections is also limited only to mobile devices.

Desktops have standard designs and layouts that most users are already familiar with. For instance, navigation options sit at the top of the page, and ads occupy the perimeter of desktop sites. With mobile devices space considerations remain crucial and it is recommended that you place the navigation at the bottom of the page.

Traditional websites have the capacity to host several sections with lots of content; increasing monitor size and connections speeds will continue to enhance this. Mobile devices however, should always maintain a single focus per page due to limited space. While on a desktop, you’ll have a 200×125 pixel image, on the mobile the same image ideally is 50×50 pixel.

Pages should also be linear and simple, guiding users step-by-step or giving single tasks to make the site easy to follow. For instance, site-selling shoes could list down the different types, which the user can tap on and continue to narrow down the different specifications until they arrive at their final choice. This method also allows for analysis and improvements based on information of the specific levels at which users drop off. Bear in mind the mobile URLs use a different structure and each sub-sections (comments, likes, etc.) represent a new page with a new URL.

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