A record number of users are now accessing the internet via a mobile phone or tablet device. Most of these users have previously been using desktop PCs, and have seen what they are capable of and what they can do. The consequence of this is that users are very demanding and expect the same sort of usability and features in mobile applications. The mass adoption of social media platforms by the public has also had an impact on mobile website design. Most of the population now tweets or follows, friends or connects to other users and to businesses too. This mass usage of social media has created an insatiable desire amongst mobile users for instant and real-time communication. Social media has raised expectations, and mobile website designers have had to respond to these demands. 2011 has seen many innovations in mobile website design: some of the trends will no doubt be forgotten before long and superseded: others, however, are here to stay and will be an integral part of mobile website design for the coming years. This article looks at 5 of those trends that will definitely endure.
Designing for All Digital Platforms
All web designs are not equal. Some mobile website designers may have a great, creative, and interesting layout for their websites, but they must make sure that these designs can transfer over to the small screen. Some companies, especially startup companies, fall into this trap because they design their websites on a desktop computer. However, consumers now use eReaders and mobile phones to surf the web. If there’s too much going on (3D images, turntable images, large files), the website is certain to irritate anyone using a mobile device. Therefore, it is important to think simple, and avoid any over-large or over-elaborate website designs.
The use of Footers
Mobile website designers are calling ‘big footers’ one of the biggest web design trends of 2011. Most companies see footers as yet another way to draw in visitors, so it is important to utilize and maximise the impact of the footer with cool logos, lots of information for those interested in learning more, and of course, the traditional copyright information and business phone number. Headers are also important: users usually decide if they are going to stay on a page after ten seconds, after all. Yet companies can spend too much time over-developing the headers and thus neglect the footers. Mobile website designers have recognised this, and have taken steps to rectify the problem.
Incorporating Social Media Icons
Any mobile website designer will now include social media icons when they’re laying out a website. Most companies only have about three to five icons, but the problem is that there are an infinite number of social media platforms available. Mobile website designers can’t include icons for every social media network, so have had to limit the number they use, sticking with the ones that are most appropriate and useful for their clients. The important thing that designers need to do is make sure these icons are easy to find, and add a note that asks visitors to get involved with social media. Many top websites also make sure that these icons are clustered together to avoid visitor confusion.
The popularity of social media has also placed further demands on web designers. It is extremely important in 2011 that companies incorporate interactivity into their website. This can be achieved by allowing for visitor comments, uploading videos, featuring surveys, and even simply utilizing 3D imaging to help the visitor feel as if they are involved. The tricky part about this trend, however, is making sure that your website is still appealing to those using small screens. In other words, keeping it simple, but also staying on trend with all of the interactive opportunities.
Getting Creative with Typography
This year typography has been even more interesting because of the many font replacement methods that were put into effect. In the past many browsers did not support more than a few fonts, but 2011 proved to be the year that brought more choices. Utilizing fonts correctly—using certain fonts for important messages, new items, and basic content—is one of the easiest ways to get a website noticed.