More people will access a website using mobile than they will using a desktop or a laptop. That’s just the way the world works today, so you have to think about responsive web design for people who use their phones to look up companies, make purchases, and just browse the web.
In order to optimize your designs for people who browse on their phones, think about the following areas:
Remember that the person who is looking at your web design is going to be on mobile, which means simplicity is king. Take away anything that isn’t strictly necessary or anything that will make load times faster. Think about the necessities of your design, including the logo, contact information, store locator, and key information that the person is probably looking for.
Keep the blocks of text and huge images for the desktop websites. When possible, use things like lists or drop-downs to avoid large amounts of text.
Mobile is slower than traditional internet, so you have to keep the website streamlined and easy to use. If someone can’t load the page, they have to look around too much, or they can’t seem to find the right place to go, they will quickly click back and go to another page.
Spend time looking at other website layouts to figure out how they work. The best ones are from the big name companies, but small companies are catching up. Look at a website like Starbucks and you will see what is important to someone who searches for the brand.
This means avoiding Flash or Java as well. Since most people have smartphones and Apple does not support Flash, it really doesn’t work all that well for most people. That’s a huge portion of your target market that is gone.
Speaking of the brand, use that as an easy place to start. Look at the branding on the traditional website and see what you can take to incorporate into the mobile website: colors, layout, navigation, and verbiage. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you make a mobile website, you just have to improve it and make it smaller.
Seriously. There is no better way to guarantee that someone will click the back button and never come back to your website.
At the end of the day, designing for mobile is quite similar to designing for a traditional website, you just have to think smaller and simpler. Spend a lot of time on different phones, looking at mobile websites to see what you want to do. From there, look at your traditional website to determine what you need and what can be scrapped. If you need help figuring that out, read about How to Do a Website Design Review and it can help you figure it out.