Website Design Tips: Did you know that globally, 68% of website traffic comes from mobile devices? Forty percent of people search only on mobile and never use a desktop to search the web. That is why optimizing your website Design for mobile devices is so important. Whether you want people to read your blog or purchase a product, you must make the website easy to use and navigate on phones and tablets.
In this article, you will read about six design tips to make your website more optimized for mobile devices. Let us get into it.
Table of Contents
Website Design Tips #1: Keep the Navigation Simple
Navigation is critical because it allows people to journey through your website and comes across all your important pages, including your about page, your contact page, and your product pages. However, navigation can sometimes be more complicated on mobile devices. That is often due to menus that are not well-optimized for mobile touch screens, which are smaller than desktop screens and do not have a mouse for optimal control.
Proper content structure is key. Having a good flow across your website will enable people to naturally discover your most important pages while browsing your website. Creating structures will allow you to list menu options under their appropriate categories. For example, you can create a new page for each service you offer, all under the Services category. The URL structure might look something like this: Yourwebsite.com/services/specific-service.
Simple navigation words on mobile menus can help with greater UI UX design. More extended menu options may get cut off on mobile devices.
Website Design Tips #2: Make It Easy to Access the Menu
If you discover that your menu doesn’t work well on mobile devices, you should consider using another theme. You can also use the WP Mobile Menu plugin or a similar plugin to install a menu optimized for mobile devices. Keep in mind that drop-down menus are often hard to use on mobile devices, especially if specific drop-down options expand into additional options.
Collapsible menus, which are opened by pressing an icon in the top-right or top-left corner, don’t take up too much space and can work very well on mobile devices. Sticky menus, which stick to the top of the screen as the user scrolls down, can also work, as they allow users to find the menu easily on mobile devices.
Website Design Tips #3: Narrow Down Choices
The paradox of choice doesn’t just apply to personal decisions. It is something to keep in mind when designing a website, especially for mobile devices. If there are too many options, users can get confused. Less-important choices can distract from more important options, which can lower your conversion rates and lead to reduced sales in the long run. By narrowing down user choices, you can subtly nudge your readers into the direction you want to take them.
Header hierarchies break up articles and blog posts and help users locate the exact portion of a page or post they are looking for. It also allows users to scroll through an article and understand its message without spending a lot of time. That’s important for mobile optimization, as many mobile users are using their mobile phones while on the go. Perhaps they’re waiting for a bus or sitting down with a friend and don’t have a lot of time to read your entire article.
URL hierarchies can help as well. Not only do they improve navigation, but they also help with SEO. Filters and tags help too. You can tag blog posts based on the topics they cover, allowing users to see all blog posts that touch upon a specific topic. Filters and tags are also great for ecommerce stores, as they enable users to find the exact products they are looking for.
Website Design Tips #4: Make Everything Finger-Friendly
Although some tablets are compatible with attachable keyboards and mice, most mobile devices, including almost all smartphones used nowadays, are touchscreens and do not work with external keyboards or mice. That is why making your website finger-friendly is so essential. If you’re a mobile user yourself, you’ll know how frustrating it is to try to do something with your finger that just doesn’t work as it would with a mouse.
Compatibility to proper finger gestures is essential. A good theme will ensure that users can scroll up or down, for example, with ease, without lags or freezes.
Buttons can be difficult to press on mobile devices, which is why using large buttons can be beneficial. This does not just refer to calls to action, however. If you use a pop-up on your site, make sure the exit button is large and easy to click on. Make sure it is visible and does not extend beyond the screen. Make sure submit buttons on forms are easy to click on as well.
Website Design Tips #5: Take Page Load Speed to the Next Level
A slow page loading speed is one of the most common gripes mobile users have about websites user experience. Fortunately, there are many ways to speed up a website for mobile devices.
Why is page speed so crucial on mobile? One reason might be that mobile users are often using mobile data connections as opposed to Wifi, while most desktop users use Wifi. Mobile data speeds tend to be slower and can sometimes be spotty, depending on the region and company. In addition, phones are smaller and do not have the same CPUs as desktops. People on mobile phones also have short attention spans online.
Downsizing images and videos is one way to speed up your site. You can do that by using a plugin like WP Smush. It compresses your images before uploading them, but it does not affect image quality. It only affects the actual size of your image.
Instead of compressing videos, however, upload them first to Youtube and then embed them in your site using the shortcode Youtube gives you for that purpose. Since the video is hosted on Youtube, it won’t take up space on your website servers.
Simplifying the entire website can help speed it up. Remove unnecessary plugins or use a lighter theme. Use an all-in-one plugin that has several features instead of installing different plugins for each specific purpose.
To really take your page speed to the next level, however, employ caching or use a CDN. A caching plugin like WP Super Cache will create a cached HTML file of a web page and serve that same file to most visitors. The same static file can be administered to 99 percent of visitors unless the page has to be customized to them, thus speeding up loading times.
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cloudflare employs data centers around the globe to deliver content to users quickly. It will serve users from the data center closest to them, thus speeding up load times. A CDN also enhances your website’s security.
Website Design Tips #6: Test Your Design
Finally, use tools to ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices. There are plenty of online tools you can use. Google PageSpeed Insights, for example, will test the page loading speed of your website or page and point out issues that are slowing down the page.
Another excellent tool is the Mobile-Friendly Test tool, which allows you to check for mobile responsiveness issues. You can enter either a URL or code.
However, a tool can not always pick up on problems that appear on specific mobile devices, which is why real-time user testing is so important. However, it can be hard to test on all kinds of mobile devices yourself. Most people only own one or two mobile devices.
That is where a cross-browser testing platform can come into place. Such platforms employ real devices and show you how your website or app is showing up on a specific browser on a particular desktop or mobile device in real time. Some platforms use emulators or simulators, while others use real devices.
BrowserStack is a popular cross-browser testing service, but many others are great as well. Browserling, for example, allows you to try the tool out for free without signing up for an account, though you will need a premium account to test on devices other than a Windows 7.
Browserling only supports several Android versions, however, but it is pretty inexpensive. Smartbear Cross Browser Testing is another service that supports specific real devices, including various Samsung Galaxy, iPhone, iPad, Nexus, and Pixel models.
Of course, it never hurts to check the website out on your own mobile device to look for problems. Many website page builders will also allow you to see the page you are building in phone or tablet mode, but that doesn’t always pick up on real-time errors.
Wrapping It Up
The market share of mobile internet traffic vs. desktop traffic keeps growing. More and more people are buying mobile devices and using them to browse the internet. If you are not optimizing your website for mobile devices, you are still behind the curve.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to optimize your website for mobile. By implementing the tips mentioned in this article, you will be able to provide your mobile users with a rich user experience.