UX Blog: How To Build A Responsive Website Without Breaking A SweatApril 17, 2014
In Part I of our mobile series, we explained how critical it is to make your business’s website mobile-optimized. Since more than half of your customers say they will not recommend your brand to friends if you have a poor mobile experience, your social media marketing and sales do, in fact, depend on mobile functionality.
But the bigger question most businesses ask us is: Where do I start? How is it possible to design a website that is viewable on any device—from smartphone to tablet—without sacrificing the original desktop functionality?
To take you from the WHY to the HOW, here’s a list of common issues and solutions for them.
1) Think Vertically
Laying out content and graphics horizontally often makes sense on a desktop, but I’ve found it will most likely hurt your users’ mobile experience. A simple solution is to start stacking content vertically on itself. For example, instead of placing an image and paragraph next to each other, stack them so the picture appears on top of the text. As you build, this layout will start to become second-nature, helping you keep mobile capabilities at the center of your business focus.
2) Chew on Hamburger Icons
Feeling hungry yet? On a mobile device, there won’t be enough room for long navigation menus that stretch across wide areas. That’s why we suggest hiding menus inside a button with three parallel lines, also known as “hamburger icons.” This method gives a clear signal to audiences that there are more options underneath the icon—all without cluttering the screen and distracting mobile viewers.
3) Take It From Drive-Thrus: Embrace ‘On the Go’ Fans
Audiences on mobile likely want access to different material than your users on a desktop. It’s the nature of mobile web surfing—you want to get in, out, and on to the next thing. To streamline their pathway, I suggest highlighting the most helpful and brand-relevant material from your site, and re-organizing so that this information is front and center. I’m not saying that you have to get rid of the more complex information, just that you tuck it away to avoid audience distraction. The viewers who want to find that information will, and the others will be able to convert from website visitor to customer without any challenges.
Overall, designing a mobile-friendly site isn’t as daunting as it looks when you plan around the user experience. Just remember that a mobile-optimized site is not just about visual appeal; reducing the cognitive effort required of your audiences will make it easier for them to becoming devoted (and paying) brand loyalists.