Mobile website design trends 2011

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Mobile phone and handheld device technology is moving at a rapid pace. Every month a rash of new devices comes into the market place boasting larger screen resolutions and more intuitive interfaces. All of these advances have resulted in better connectivity, faster mobile web browsing and significantly increased data traffic. Mobile website designers have embraced these changes and endeavoured to incorporate all of the latest technological changes into their designs and programmes to make the mobile web experience more vibrant and appealing. Over the course of the next few articles we’ll take a look at some of the latest trends that designers are incorporating into their mobile website designs.

Slider gallery

The slider gallery has been adopted by website designers because it offers a convenient solution for the problems that can occur when mobile website need to handle high volumes of images. The slider gallery lets users navigate between multiple images easily and conveniently.  This technological advance has been particularly useful for mobile layouts, where space is limited, because it allows for a display of multiple images. The gallery is generally operated by means of navigation buttons that let the user move forwards to a new image, or backwards to the previous one.

Large photo background

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Well, that’s particularly true for mobile devices where the display space is finite. The latest trend is to use a large, almost over-sized, photograph for the website background.  Content can then be overlaid on top of this. The advantages of a large photo background are obvious:
•    they can look absolutely stunning
•    they makes a statement
•    pictures can get across a company message or story better than words

Magazine style

Adopting a magazine style of design on websites has become increasingly popular. It acts almost like a portal to the website itself. Obviously prominence is given to the images and the headings, but text can also be overlaid and act as a link to the rest of the site’s content.

Video content listing

Website designers have been keen to add video content to mobile sites for some time. It’s hardly surprising given the popularity of sites like YouTube and the BBC’s iPlayer.  Unfortunately the technology wasn’t available. Now users can watch all sorts of videos on mobile devices: the choice is limitless, whether you’re looking for coverage of the Glastonbury festival or the latest news form Iraq. The videos are displayed in list form along with an explanation of exactly what users can expect to find once they click on the video link.

Full website option

Mobile websites have increasingly started to provide a link which takes the user back to the primary website to view content that is only available on the desktop version of the site. It might seem odd at first: mobiles are limited by their size and resolution, so normally mobile websites are paired down to offer just the essential information that is deemed necessary. So offering more information seems to be a bit of a contradiction. However, more and more tablet devices are being released with large screens, better resolution and wifi connectivity, making the display of the full desktop website much more viable.

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