You may choose to build a site that can work for both computer and mobile devices or build a specialized mobile version. Either way, you should know how to create a mobile design that can work well on most mobile devices, even those that are not so smart (i.e. feature phones). If you have the time and resource to build a site version for mobile devices such as iPhone and Android phones, you may already be aware that designing a site for touchscreen phones require special attention. If you can design a site for high-end mobile devices, building one for low-end feature phones will be easier.
Because many smartphones are powerful and equipped with fast Internet connection, designing 100kB to 200kB pages can be acceptable, but to better accommodate low-bandwidth mobile devices, your page should be under 25kB, especially when users are rushing to get information during a meeting or on the road. When stripping a page to a size smaller than 25 kB, you’ll be forced to use only the most basic elements such as highly optimized, small images, a few links and of course, a text. For the homepage, a page filled only with links, a little text and small images can offer adequate bang for the bandwidth. Links are just texts and can be rendered very quickly.
If you want to have a design that can work well on most mobile devices, technology limitation is not the biggest challenge; the real decision is what you want to do with the content. Start by considering priorities in your site, ordered based on the degree of importance. Check the items at the bottom of your priority list, they should be the best candidate for elimination and you may strip them from the mobile version of your site. Try to place yourself as the visitors and determine what they really need. These are a few things to consider when designing a site for mobile version.
- * Always include a small version of your logo to retain the identity of your mobile site.
- * Include information about how people can contact you directly from the mobile device, including email address and phone number.
- * If you allow people to visit your office or store, make sure that the address is mentioned in the front page, also if possible add a link for Google Map, to help people find direction to your office or store easily.
- * Never use more than three small images. Each image should be optimized to about 5 kB to speed up the access time.
- * Never include huge multimedia files on the homepage. If you believe that an audio file, a video or a slideshow is important to convey your message, put it to a special page. Warn low-bandwidth users about the presence of this file.
If it is difficult to automatically route users to appropriate version of your site due to limitation in resources or expertise, at the desktop version you should add a link that goes to the mobile version of your site, preferably at the top-left corner. Mobile browsers commonly load from the top left, so the link could be the first thing users see in your site. Because high-end smartphones can run desktop version of the common sites reasonably well, you should also add the link to the desktop version on your mobile site, this will allow your users to get a fully-featured site, instead of a stripped down version.
Adding a phone number on your mobile site is usually a good idea, but you should consider what your visitors might want to get next? You should help them to get the information they need, even it requires them to enable advanced interactive features or download a specific file. For example, if you own an insurance company, the homepage of your mobile site should contain a small logo, a short text, complete contact information and links to form pages, such as a form to apply for a new policy and a form to file a claim. This mobile site design that contains condensed information can help people to move as quickly as possible to get everything they need. You should visit mobilynx.net, a site that provides links to mobile-friendly websites. Mobilynx is organized into categories to help users find sites or online resources that most interest them. These sites can help you to find pattern that can work well for most visitors.