Mobile technology – how it has changed web design
It was back in 2013 when mobile phones had already taken over the desktops as a device used to access the Internet. The business landscape underwent a complete change as mobile commerce rose to the forefront. Those who decided to stay immune to the change had to lose out heavily on customers. That was how the popular use of mobile phones had impacted the companies. So how has the scenario changed since then? Well, it is no more about devices; now it’s all about mobile technology. It is not enough to appear on the internet when you are searched through a mobile device, your website should fit the screen size. This means techniques have to be applied to ensure that your websites are mobile optimized.
What are the popularly employed techniques?
According to Pew Research Internet Project 90% adults have cellphones while 58% of them are using smartphones and 42% have a tablet. Optimizing the websites with mobile technology only help in creating better value for the customers. It enables the consumers to see your products or services anytime, anywhere. Therefore, several techniques are being adapted by the developers so as to optimize the sites for mobile technology including mobile stylesheets, using fluid layouts, creating stylesheets specific to platforms, doing away with unnecessary content, etc.
Exploring the technologies
Mobile stylesheet comprises the creation of an alternative CSS style that has been optimized specifically for the handheld devices by making use of a similar kind of HTML markup. Another technology employed by the developers is the fluid layouts. This implies that no fixed width, height etc are applied so that the elements can be resized depending on the size of the screen. The platform specific stylesheets ensure that there is a specific one for each mobile platform including iPhone, Windows or Android phones.
Technology is ever growing and as it progresses, it will create an impact on the mobile devices as well. To keep in sync with the new mobile devices, web development will be compelled to adapt to the new demands from the users. Here’s a quick list that points out how mobile technology has influenced the website design in the recent years –
Responsive Web Design
There has been an apparent shift to RWD in the recent years and understandably so. For those savvy web developers and web users, responsive web design is irreplaceable. As a business owner if you are aiming at providing uncompromising user experience then you cannot overlook this web design pattern. The impact of RWD was apparent when in 2013 Facebook announced changes in its News Feed that was completely based on the principles of responsive design. Today, it is no more a trend but a necessity that the web developers simply cannot ignore.
This is a trend that took many by surprise. Even a couple of years back, short website pages were in vogue where the users did not have to scroll down incessantly for information. Since last year there has been a major shift in this trend as longer pages were included in the websites. The reason for this is that users prefer scrolling down and viewing information on the same page instead of reloading a new one.
Getting rid of the side bar
A few years back it was quite common to include around 2 or 3 columns in the website design. There were columns for the side menu, content and another one for showing the quick links. However, now it is all about displaying the website centrally while it is designed organically based on the content. There are no more sidebars to take care of.
If you notice carefully, you will find that the new trend in website design is to include all the elements (even the logo) centrally. The information as well as the other components will appear on the middle of your mobile screens. It renders a more cleaner and smarter look.
Ditch the mobile sites
With the responsive website becoming more dominant, it is time to bid farewell to the mobile site concept. It is estimated that by the end of 2015, the mobile sites will be completely phased out. Besides RWD, mobile apps, too have contributed significantly in shifting away from the mobile websites. The need of the hour is to build sites that are not only optimized for mobiles but they will look great on desktops as well.
Simplicity and innovation score
Do you have ample to time to deal with complexities? Neither does the users. Creating complex sites will repel the browsers. Right from industry bigwigs to development experts, all are of the view that too much content or a huge website will not have the desired impact. Although more content ensures that you index and that is good for search engine rankings. But the trend is to harp on quality rather than quantity. While enterprise websites might have thousands of pages but a small business site does not require the same.
It is equally important to innovate. There are several websites that appear similar. It is time to move away from such similarities and create something new.
The concern here is that it isn’t easy to keep up with all the changes taking place in mobile website design services owing to the growth of mobile technology. It would be interesting to see how designers and developers can play along innovatively with the dynamic design elements and use the minimal to achieve a maximum impact.