Now, more than ever, users engage with brands and websites through mobile devices. Gone are the days when you only needed to focus on creating a visually appealing website for laptops or desktops. Your website needs to be responsive, and it is not just about the switch from desktop to mobile. Your site needs to shine across devices like the iPhone Plus or a Nook tablet and responsive web design (RWD), ensures it does.
Engaging your users where they spend the most time is important and can make or break their confidence in your business. Here are ten mobile-friendly design features you should be incorporating in your RWD.
1. Ease of Navigation
When websites were initially starting to adopt responsiveness features for use on mobile devices, the now-familiar hamburger navigation was developed. This was an easy way to hide the site’s navigation points until the user needed them. Over the past few years, the hamburger has gradually faded away and been replaced by icons located at the top or bottom of the page.
Icons are now commonplace, and users have a pretty good idea of what the icons mean. Incorporating a simple icon layout for navigation through your mobile site will allow users to move through the site quickly and efficiently.
2. Simple and Diffused Background
Web designers incorporate beautiful themes and backgrounds when building a website. These images and backgrounds define your brand and develop a sense of familiarity for your users. You do not want to lose those aspects when users are viewing your site on a mobile device.
Instead of removing them, background images can be blurred and diffused, making the navigation and features of the website the primary focus. This method allows your viewers to see a familiar website without translating an image to a mobile screen, which will save on load times and increase user engagement.
3. Color Palettes
Popular apps and mobile-friendly websites utilise a “less-is-more” approach to colour schemes. This does not mean that you should change the colour scheme for your brand. Instead, when developing a mobile-friendly website, use more white space and toned-down versions of the colours in your brand.
Be wise with your colour usage. When users are reading on their mobile device, they scroll more quickly than they would on a computer. This means the pops of colour you do use are going to cause them to pause and take in that information. Strategically place the colours where readers can find the most relevant information.
4. Swiping Functionality and Gestures
There are multiple gestures and swiping functionalities that can be used on your website: touching, double touching, pinch in, pinch out, hold and drag, and touch and drag. As users spend more time viewing websites on their phones, they become more accustomed to different gestures. Stay on top of the most commonly used gestures on mobile sites and incorporate them into your design.
5. Functional Animations and Material Design
A growing trend in mobile web design is functional animations. Adding animations to your site gives your users more direct visualisations. These visualisations build connections between your business and what value it has to offer your users. Animations create a richer experience for your users, and animated elements can make mobile website navigation easier.
These elements can be incorporated into your material design, which is important for the usability of your mobile site. The material design elements include layering and gradients that can help your mobile site load faster.
6. Card Design
Card design is an older trend in mobile design. Cards divide the content on your website into smaller sections that are easy for users to scroll through. This functionality allows your users to view different multimedia aspects of your site, and to skip through to information most relevant to them.
7. Intuitive Interface
No matter what device someone is using, no one wants to feel like they are not clever enough to navigate it. Your interface should feel intuitive across devices. Some preachers of internet gospel suggest that “intuitive” is an impossible standard for designers, but it does not have to mean being a psychic.
Instead of relying on your sixth sense, simply consider what would be the most natural action given a certain device. Your website interface should feel familiar to users – even if it is their first visit to your site. When users feel comfortable on your site, they will stick around and, when they stick around, they boost engagement, which increases rankings.
8. Touch ID
Touch ID was originally developed for the security of the smartphone itself. Websites and apps are now using this technology to increase the security of their services. Incorporating touch ID into your mobile design shows users your security is important to them, and they can trust making a payment on your website or using your services.
9. Location Services
When location services were initially developed, users were concerned about how allowing apps and websites to use their positions would compromise their privacy. The concerns associated with using location seem to have faded away because of the convenience it has provided. Incorporating location technology into your website will give users the opportunity to optimise deals and ensure convenience.
Consider Target’s Cartwheel app. Users feel like they are getting a deal by leveraging this app because coupons are available at the touch of a finger. Target’s location service reminds anyone in the vicinity to choose them for the best deals – the app knows when you are near a Target location and users get a notification. If your business provides products or services at a variety of places, your users will be able to find the locations closest to them. If you do it right, they will feel like they are the ones winning with location-based services.
10. Wearable Technology
Just when you thought you had mastered developing and adjusting your website for mobile functionality, there is an even smaller screen to worry about. People are beginning to wear their technology either on an Apple Watch or Android-compatible device. The apps and websites that can be utilised on these screens are growing. Developing your website to be used on a wearable device will keep you on the cutting edge of technology.
Developers are always challenging the norms and coming up with creative ways for users to interact with websites. It is important to consider your website’s ease of navigation, and creating a mobile-friendly design that stays true to your brand and is familiar to your users will ensure they stick around to see what you have to offer.
Want to learn more?
Are you interested in the intersection between UX and UI Design? The online courses on UI Design Patterns for Successful Software and Design Thinking: The Beginner’s Guide can teach you skills you need. If you take a course, you will earn an industry-recognized course certificate to advance your career. On the other hand, if you want to brush up on the basics of UX and Usability, try the online course on User Experience (or another design topic). Good luck on your learning journey!
(Lead image: Depositphotos – affiliate link)