Designing Usable Mobile Websites

 

Peak Newsability - 20 April 2011

Are you in the mobile website game? Many organisations don't want to play, but times are changing and changing fast. During the year 2015 the Asia-Pacific region is projected to see nearly 500 million NEW smartphones, and Google ex-CEO Eric Schmidt has declared that the pace of mobile growth has outstretched even Google's own predictions.

It's time to get on board... and if you are on board, how confident are you that your site provides an ideal mobile experience? We've been keeping an eye on the mobile space here at Peak, and while there are already some good mobile-optimised sites out there, we're pretty sure there are many more on the way.

We want to help.

PDFDesigning usable mobile websites - a practical guide (PDF 1.7MB)

So, we've gone ahead and put together a guide for your consumption! The Peak Usability whitepaper Designing usable mobile websites (PDF, 1.7MB) is now available for download for our intrepid websites users only. This high-level guide outlines how to approach critical topics in mobile site design, including:

  • Where to start
  • The types of research you'll want to do to inform your design
  • How to choose target platforms for development
  • Key usability guidelines for crafting your mobile website
    • Designing for a goal
    • Page layout
    • Visual and interaction design
    • Site navigation
  • Mobile heuristic checklist for evaluating design efforts
  • Lots of externals links to further reading

We hope this guide will assist you as you start thinking about a move into the mobile web space, or tweaking your existing mobile site to be more usable and user friendly.

As always, there's no silver bullet - this document contains guidelines, things to keep in mind. Your best bet for designing usable, useful, and engaging experiences is to follow successful design practices and involve users in the design process. There are definitely fun and interesting ways of researching, prototyping, and testing mobile sites... But we'll get into them another time.

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Usability tip

Bulleted lists keep pages on target

At Peak, we commonly test information-heavy sites for findability of particular pieces of data. We all know that people scan pages to find information of interest, which can be assisted by good headers. But sometimes just locating information isn't enough - heavy paragraphs of text can be hard to process. Sometimes it's simpler to digest a list of dot points.

Bullets are great for:

  • Increasing scanability.
  • Communicating fundamental ideas.
  • Reducing cognitive load.
  • Summarizing copy / content.