All the way back in 2014, mobile browsing officially overtook web browsing as the preferred way for people to go online. This means that desktop experiences should no longer be the only thing that web designers consider when they're creating the perfect website for their users.
If you want to reach the broadest audience and make sure that you get the best possible ranking on the search engines, then you'll need to know how to create a responsive, mobile-friendly website. Here are our top tips for doing just that.
1. Start with a Responsive Design
When mobile browsing began to grow in popularity, some companies decided that the best thing to do was to make a mobile website as well as a desktop site. However, this just means that your website is more likely to load slowly on a smartphone. Instead, you should be looking into responsive design. A responsive design ensures that your website is just as easy to view and use on any size of device.
The responsive design approach allows you to access all the benefits of flexible images, layouts, and cascading stylesheet queries. When a responsive layout appears on a website, your site will be able to detect the screen size of your visitor and adjust accordingly.
2. Include a Viewport Meta Tag
The viewport on your website is the virtual area that's used by your browser rendering engine to figure out how content should be sized and scaled for the viewer. This is a critical piece of code that you need to get right when you're designing a site to work on any device. Without a viewport meta tag, your site won't be able to work accordingly on a mobile device.
The viewport meta tag tells your browser that the content in it needs to be able to fit a specific size of screen. There are various different configurations you can use to enhance your viewpoint control. The best option is to leave this up to the experts.
3. Consider Font Sizes and Buttons
Mobile browsing is a touch-screen experience. This means that both your font size and button sizes are going to be crucial. Your font size needs to be big enough for people to be able to read it clearly without zooming in. This means that you want to choose around 14px. Although this seems large, the bigger font size will also make it easier to click on any links that you have in your content.
Buttons are also an important consideration on your website, as they will generally include your call to action content and other essential conversions. The bigger the button can be, the better, and make sure you use a contrasting colour to display it too.
4. Use High-Res Pictures
People expect your website to look just as professional on their phone as it does on a desktop. Make sure that you stick with high-res images to ensure that your user's experience is of the highest possible standard. The latest models in Android and iOS will come pre-equipped with high-definition screens that already require a high-resolution image that's much more detailed than your desktop websites require. Don't let your customers see a blurry picture.
5. Remove Your Default Zoom Option
If you have default zoom on your website, turn it off when you're working on your mobile-friendly experience. Auto-zoom has a habit of messing up layout elements, particularly for navigation content and images. You might find that parts of your content appear too large or too big in your layout, or don't allow your customer to click where they need to.
To make sure that your zoom problems are fixed, use the viewport tag in your HTML to ensure that custom variables are available within the content.
6. Don't Restrict your Users
Just because you've created a beautiful mobile website for your customers, doesn't mean that you should stop them from visiting your full site if that's what they'd prefer to do. With that in mind, make sure that you always include a "go to full website" link on the bottom of your site that your customers can click if they want to.
There's no need to lose potential viewers and customers just because you haven't allowed someone to view your site fully.
7. Keep Testing
Finally, when you've created your responsive website make sure that you keep testing it to ensure that it's working as it should be and delivering the experience that your users expect. A website isn't something you can simply set and forget. You'll need to keep working on it if you want to outshine the competition.