During the past three years, desktop internet usage has declined from 90% to 60%, while mobile internet usage soared to 40%. If this trend continues, and it seems that it is likely to do so, mobile internet usage will soon surpass desktop internet usage.
The general approach used by most designers when designing for mobile devices is to create a responsive smaller version of their desktop website. This approach, however, is not the ideal strategy for designing mobile sites. Instead of merely scaling down a website, it is best to assess the client’s business and how important mobile accessibility is for their users.
The challenge for web designers nowadays is how they can design for various mobile devices which come in various different sizes. Here are a few best practices in creating better, more intuitive, and user friendly mobile user experience:
Provide Clear and Concise Content
Mobile users are typically on the go. This, combined with relatively smaller screens, makes it necessary to feature web content that is easy to read. Minimalism is key, with each web page having just one central focus.
For atypical gestures, such as a swipe to go to the next page or a horizontal scroll, make it easy for users to use these features by adding a small arrow or a hovering message.
Keep Menus and Navigation Simple
Unlike desktop websites with a menu bar at the top of their pages, mobile sites need something more compact to fit in the smaller screen. Instead of a menu bar, use a drop down accordion or icon on the top left or right of the mobile screen as your menu.
Refrain from having multi-level menus with sub menus that appear on hover and ensure that everything is accessible to mobile users.
Consider All Mobile Device Layouts
Image source: bradfrost.com
Always keep in mind that mobile devices come in several different dimensions. Don’t just design for a 320-pixel width, design for other sizes as well, like 176, 240, 320, 360, and 480 to 600 pixels for landscape.
You will need to make sure that your web layout is flexible and fluid so it displays properly on various screen sizes.
Focus on Touch Inputs and Gestures
Today’s mobile devices no longer come with a keyboard and a mouse, and the primary mode of interaction is touch so you will need to design for touch.
In doing so, it is vital that you consider the different sizes, shapes, and pressures of fingers to mobile device touch screens and ensure that buttons, forms, and other elements that require touch input are large enough so there would be no overlap with adjacent elements.
Product management training instructors from Product School stress the importance of users in determining product design and the same applies to mobile web UX.
By keeping these things in mind as you design for mobile users, you are then able to provide a more efficient and positive experience to your mobile users which will also help your clients in building trust among their target audience.
Web.com: The Long-Term Standard for DIY WebsitesOne of the best things about choosing Web.com is that you can comfortably rely on their proven history of relevance. Unlike numerous DIY builders that have come and gone during the past two decades, Web.com has stood the test of time by maintaining a presence since the ‘90s. This company even hosts a well-known golf tournament. In other words, if longevity is one of your most important determining factors, then you cannot go wrong with this option.
Web.com also offers an extensive list of pre-built templates, unlimited storage, access to free stock images and a top-notch customer service department. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for users to experience issues with frustrating software bugs. Additionally, if you are planning to create your own website from scratch instead of using a template, it will be much more difficult to import and launch your work from this platform.
Anyone who needs a quick and easy builder that does not require a lot of interaction can find success with Web.com, but it is not recommended for advanced sites or individuals who are unable to deal with the occasional glitch.
Weebly: Taking DIY Website Builders to the Next LevelWeebly earns a lot of praise from clients and professional reviews. In fact, it is often listed as one of the best DIY website builders, and it has definitely earned this status. Weebly offers free accounts with unlimited pages, but the company’s branding will be featured on each page. Fortunately, it is possible to turn this off by upgrading to a paid account for as little as $3.29 per month.
There are two major reasons that individuals and small businesses owners embrace Weebly: the company provides responsive sites that render beautifully on smartphones, and they offer simplistic, yet powerful e-commerce solutions for every user, including those who stick with a free account. There is also a web app that makes it easy to update your website on the go, and the platform’s drag-and-drop functionality is very intuitive.
There are a few downsides to selecting Weebly, and the biggest issue is that the website builder does not have an undo tool. This is such a basic concept that we are astounded that Weebly has not added it during one of their numerous updates, and it can cause you to spend more time than necessary tweaking your site if you make a mistake.
You will also need to give up on built-in email options and accept the weaknesses within Weebly’s photo editing tools if you end up using their services. Overall, though, Weebly has a solid product that is well-worth the upgrade price.
Wix: Comprehensive Options for Desktop UsersWix reportedly has 60 million users, and they have even launched a free online school that teaches people how to become a certified webmaster. With this level of dedication toward helping people get the most out of their DIY builder, you can be confident that Wix is highly invested in continuously offering a high quality platform.
The best qualities of the Wix DIY website builder include drag-and-drop functionality that does not require any tech skills and an extensive list of premade templates that work well for a variety of industries. When you combine these features with an extremely intuitive interface and the ability to create stunningly interactive sites, it is no wonder that everyone from artists to business owners have embraced Wix.
However, just like any other DIY website builder, Wix does have some limitations. For example, although most of the templates look decent on a smartphone, Wix does not offer sites that are made with mobile responsiveness in mind. You will also be required to go through a paid Google Analytics account in order to monitor your website’s stats. If these factors are not highly important, then Wix just might be your best bet.
Which is the Best, Most Responsive DIY Builder?Are you an artist who is looking to display beautiful imagery? Wix is by far the best choice from a visual standpoint, but it does have limited e-commerce capabilities. Do you want to sell items from your site? Weebly leads the pack in e-commerce tools, but you will probably want to use an alternative photo editor. Does longevity matter the most to your company? Web.com has proven that it will be here for the long haul, but it is cumbersome for users who step outside of the platform’s prebuilt templates.
As you can see, each DIY website builder has its up and downsides, so you must carefully consider how you plan to use your new site. This will be much more important in the long run than making a selection based purely on price or how popular a builder has become.