Media on the move: making your web site mobile

February 13, 2013 Posted by workingdesign in Case Studies, Web Design

You’re mobile. So is your phone, your laptop and your tablet. What about your website? Is it time to make your site mobile-friendly?

The prevalence of high speed wireless data networks and free wifi, combined with the vast increase in processor speeds and screen size for today’s smartphones, means more and more people will see your site on their mobile device first. And first impressions, of course, count.

Start with your mobile design?

There’s a good case to be made that  the design for your next site should start with the mobile version and expand from there. Mobile phone and tablet sales now make up more than half of computer purchases. If your target audience also includes the office desk-bound user, you’ll want to consider using a responsive design to develop the site.

Responsive web design

Responsive web design is a new approach to web design in which a website’s layout and content adapt to the size of screen and type of device the website is being viewed with. This way, the same website will display in one way when viewed with a standard web browser on a laptop, and another way when displayed on a tablet or smartphone, without requiring a second “mobile” website be developed. All of this is accomplished using the latest CSS and HTML.

Most commonly a responsive website’s layout will be automatically reduced to a single column, and its content and navigation will be simplified, when it displays on a mobile device.

Focus on your most important content

There can be an advantage to paring your site content down to the essentials for easy reading in a smaller format. It asks you to focus on the most important functionality and message. It also demands that you design your communications strategy to consider the mobile user. They want information on demand. If you don’t provide it, they’ll move on. Attention is ever more fleeting. Not only is the format constrained, but you are competing with what else is going on in their environment.

In our next instalment, we’ll discuss who needs mobile and why.

How we did it: Looking at the Aquabus Ferry website.