Mobile web design: 4 best practices

Mobile web design: 4 best practices

Mobile browsing has changed the face of the Internet, and the way in which customers interact with websites. According to eMarketer's latest research, by the year 2013, 43% of Internet users will be coming to your website via their mobile devices. Social networks will be visited by 45% of mobile Internet users, from the U.S. alone. Predictions show that within the next five years, the number of Internet users accessing social networks on their cell phone (or other mobile device) will increase more than fivefold – to an estimated 760.1 million in 2014, compared to 141.4 million in 2009.

While web design concepts that should be considered when designing for mobile sites are very similar to those for regular websites, there are some key best practices that your company should be aware of when designing a mobile site. Some of the best practices that should be considered when designing a mobile website include: usable navigation, simple and responsive design, using one domain name and clear and concise call to actions throughout the mobile site. All of this should be considered, while at the same time, being aware of the fact that Internet browsing is far slower on mobile devices than via a broadband connection on a laptop or desktop computer.

Below is an outline of the four best practices individuals should be aware of, when developing a mobile web design for their company. Of course, this is just touching on the tip of what needs to be considered. For more information on how to make your company's website mobile compatible, please contact us at ByWeb, where we can discuss your company's needs and find a solution your customers will love.

Usable Navigation

Your mobile website should be navigable via touchscreens such as the iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry Playbook, as well as all other devices. If your website is not easily navigable by your customers, there is a high likelihood that this will result in lost customers, as they will be frustrated and give up, and potentially seek out your competition. In an ideal world a company's mobile website would simply be a scaled down version of their website, however this is not usually possible because all mobile devices view websites differently and not all have built-in browsers like iPads or iPhones. At ByWeb, we can help you build a mobile website for your business, or help you to adapt your current website to an easily navigable mobile website from day one.

Simple & Responsive Design

In order to maximize the load time and readability of your company's mobile website, it is imperative that the design is simple and there are minimal images involved. A responsive mobile website allows for an easy and enjoyable viewing experience, irrelevant of the mobile device your customer is using, or the screen size and orientation (portrait or landscape). A mobile website, designed properly, makes the best use of the mobile screen in all possible situations and orientations. In almost all cases, your mobile site should be more simple than your website, since users are viewing it on a much smaller scale, with slower browsing speeds than via a broadband connection.

Often, mobile websites are viewed by routing traffic from your company's website to a mobile version of the site. For example, if your website is, your mobile website would be,, or by simply using an "m" in place of the word, "mobile." This method of mobile web design is the simplest and most commonly used. When using this version, it is important to notify your users that they can either view the mobile compatible version of your site, or the regular version, thus, giving them the choice.

When creating a mobile website, it is also important to make sure you are not using a lot of images, especially large images, as they will take a long time to download, and the user will get frustrated, and inevitably give up. When deciding on a simple layout for your mobile design, it's important to ensure that you do not simply use an iPhone template PSD – your mobile website must be compatible on as many mobile devices as possible. Finally, mobile web designers should test all fonts used, as some fonts, especially custom fonts, can slow down load times, and once again, frustrate the end user. Appropriate font sizes should also be used at all times, so that the end user does not need to zoom in and out of the mobile website, inevitably slowing down the experience.

Use One Domain To Get SEO Benefits

When creating a mobile website for your company, here at ByWeb, we recommend using one domain instead of a subdomain, in order to get the benefits of Search Engine Optimization that you would not get otherwise. This is something that we can go over with you when you begin working with us, however, there are several different options that you can use for the mobile SEO URL, some of which include; same URL or simply one URL, a "m" subdomain, a third party site for mobile pages, or a .mobi top level domain.

Subdomains have their place but in order to benefit the most from SEO, you'll want to go with one domain name. Not only will your web server be less impacted, but you'll be spared from having to create a new subdomain each and every time a new device becomes available. Mobile URLs rarely have link equity so by using one domain name; you will increase your link equity as all of your traffic will simply be linked to one URL. This is of paramount importance.

Clear & Concise Call To Actions

Finally, when creating a mobile website, it is important to ensure that the website is clear, concise and offers easy-to-click-with-finger-on-touchscreen calls to action, such as "Call Now", "Email Us for More" or "Fill Out Form," amongst others. This enables the user to seamlessly interact with your mobile site, without having to memorize phone numbers, email addresses, or building addresses. In order to make the user experience clear and concise, it is advisable to prioritize content, by placing the most pertinent information toward the top of the website, so that individuals can quickly and easily find what they are looking for. The most important information on a mobile website is usually contact information and the bio or "About Us" section – as this will let the user know if they have arrived at the right website and allow them to get in touch quickly and without much effort.