Mobile Web Design

Mobile Web Design – Part 1

There are a few important points that to understand before commencing your new Singapore web design project; the first of which is understanding the difference between a website that is mobile-friendly, responsive, or mobile-optimized. While the three terms are often used synonymously, they each have their own specific applications that distinguish each of them from one another.

So what do these terms mean, and why are they so important to know in web designing? More importantly, which do you pick, and for what area?

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that, while they do have different functions and roles in web designing, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any overlap, nor does it mean that they don’t share some common traits. The most common definition for the three terms is that they are used to describe a website that looks good and functions properly on either a smartphone or a tablet device.

Because, both, the number of people, as well as the amount of time spent, using smartphones and tablets has increased with every year, web designers around the world are making a concerted effort to adapt their web pages to various screen sizes. This necessity is only becoming more vital as competitors strive to stay relevant in this ever-changing market.

Here, we will go over the three different terms (mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized, and responsive) and how they differ from one another despite their seemingly interchangeable nature. We will also determine which web design approach is the most suited for a particular task before finally going over some key concepts and principles that you should consider when going about making your own strategic decisions in regards to your company’s website design.

If you are relatively new to the subject of web design, there are probably several things you may be confused about. You may be curious as to how a website actually goes about being “designed” and just how they can turn out looking so appealing, whether on mobile or desktop.

What makes web designing such a great skill, is that, like any other form of designing, what the finished product ultimately looks like is entirely up to you. This is very much the case when it comes to designing a page. Be it desktop or mobile, there is a myriad of different choices and options that are available.

Mobile-friendly designs, mobile-optimized designs, and responsive designs are all separate approaches a web designer can take when creating a website. Each has its own particular method of becoming usable on different devices and device screens. Here is a quick reference so that you understand what the terms mean:

Mobile-Friendly Design

Mobile-Friendly Design works by adapting the screen of a website that has been specifically designed for desktops. Using a mobile-friendly design effectively “shrinks” the screen down to accommodate smartphones and tablets.

This is generally seen as the bare minimum required for businesses in today’s market. Because the screen has been modified to fit a smaller device, the web pages can often require work on the user’s end to better adjust a specific area. Oftentimes, mobile-friendly designs will require a user to “zoom in” while on their devices in order to read the print or click on an icon.

While this process may seem fairly simple for a web designer to perform, there are many online sites that aren’t successful. In fact, unless they are following specific mobile-friendly design instructions, it is surprisingly easy to stumble over even this pitfall.

Mobile-Optimized Design

Mobile-Optimized Design, while similar sounding to mobile-friendly designs, actually work at a much more advanced and complex design level. Websites that are mobile-optimized don’t simply shrink a desktop-sized webpage down to fit a mobile screen. Rather, as the name implies, the web page is completely redesigned with the smaller screen’s size in mind.

These are becoming increasingly common as more websites and companies understand the benefits of optimizing a web page for tablets and smartphones. In fact, some businesses -particularly those with smaller budgets- have opted solely to focus on mobile-optimized web pages, actually resulting in their desktop pages being “blown up” versions of the mobile screens!

Responsive Designs

Responsive Designs are websites that will properly format themselves to the device currently being used. This means that regardless of what device the user is currently viewing the web page on -smartphone, desktop, or tablet- the screen will automatically be displayed at the most optimal size. Because of this, while all are serviceable, Responsive Designs are the ideal web design to use for your business.

No matter which of the three you ultimately decide to use, your website should still look its most appealing in order to attract users. Even if you decide to use responsive designs, if your page is not appealing enough to attract and retain users, it is a moot point. Conversely, a web-friendly design, while more difficult to use than the other options, can be hugely successful so long as it is properly designed.