The Do’s & Don’ts of Mobile Responsive Design

Money may be making the world go round but phones are definitely making the world a smaller place. I believe you have observed the effect of phones on humanity as well. You can even observe it in yourself!

The smartphone craze has taken over the world far faster than any dictator in history has ever had. People are simply that love struck with smart phone technology. I bet it won’t even be an exaggeration to say that they live for it.

Seriously.

If you don’t believe me, let’s do a quick assessment:

  1. What’s the thing you grab first thing in the morning? How about the last thing you let go of at night?
  2. Which comes first – a bite of your lunch or a picture with it?
  3. When was the last time you accessed your phone? Was it ten or maybe two seconds ago? Are you even using it now?
  4. How many times have you gone straight back home after travelling midway to work/school just because you forgot your phone?
  5. When was the last time you opened Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Was it to post something – a rant, a photo, maybe a video of OOTD or “hashtag” ATM?

Yep, it’s official. You are all about your phone. You may argue otherwise but I am very confident that majority of you reading this article right now are addicted to your smartphones one way or another. It could be that you’re hooked on social media, playing games, or accessing a bunch of other websites or apps. Smartphones are convenient. They keep us company when nobody else would; keep us entertained when nothing else will. They’ve basically been absorbed into our everyday life.

I even came across this video once. It’s a vlog made by a guy who wanted to prove how much our interaction to the world (including virtual interaction) means for us. For a week, he did not leave his apartment, talked with anyone over the phone, or accessed the internet. He rid himself of all technologies, except for the camera he’s filming himself with. During the social experiment, you can really see how fast the man was changing – and how much he hated it. Sure, he can read books, do exercise, and cook to pass the time but ultimately, he concluded that social interaction is something that’s necessary in our lives.

That’s true. Time and time again, academic researchers have proved that people need social interaction in order to thrive in this world. Although it is not considered a basic need because our bodies can function with or without it, it’s still viewed as necessary. If anything, it is a “higher level” of need as reflected on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

So, where do smartphones fit in all of this?

People may not be able to live without social interaction but that doesn’t mean it is necessary for them to physically meet a person time and time again. I have not met a person so reclusive that he or she will deny any form of contact with the outside world. I have met, however, many people who refuse to deal with face-to-face interactions and instead, opt to live the rest of their lives curled up on a chair in front of their computers or snuggle in their blankets with a smartphone on one hand. These people satisfy their need for social interaction through their mobile device. They feel connected to others online. This is how deep smartphones and other technologies have seeped into our lives.

Is it a bad thing? Maybe. Is it a good thing? Probably.

But we’re not here to talk about whether smartphones are good or evil. I just wanted you to see how much they’ve impacted society. And how, you can use it to your advantage as a man of business.

What Is Mobile Responsiveness?

A mobile responsive approach is a modern marketing methodology that works hand-in-hand with other techniques such as SEO and UX. Thing is, on top of having good content, it is necessary for any company to provide users with information that is easily accessible and understandable. This is what the mobile responsive approach hopes to address. It aims to give users an easier and more convenient experience with web browsing.

As you may have already observed, the world is constantly evolving. Everyday, new gadgets are released in all shapes and sizes. When people surf the internet, they can use any device that has access to it. This means that their access is not limited to desktop computers and laptops alone. They can gain access to the internet through mobile phones, tablets, and even smartwatches. Because handheld devices are made to be portable, developers are working on making them lighter and smaller. A simple change in screen size can gravely affect your website’s performance and consequently, user satisfaction.

When a website is formatted to accommodate the size of a normal desktop computer, then there’s a very high chance that it will appear ridiculously small on a smartphone’s screen. Can you imagine? You’re fitting a 15 to 17-inch sized screen into a 5 to 6-inch one. The content will literally appear miniature in size! Users will have a hard time making out the contents of your website and may altogether give up on the idea of dealing with your business – forever.

This is what mobile responsiveness is all about. It purports to make website content available for all people through all devices in the most convenient and practical ways possible. Now, let’s move on to a more interesting question.

Why Make Your Website Mobile Responsive?

Six or seven years ago, it might’ve been alright to keep your website just the way it is – even if there were already smartphones at the time. But only because nobody else was trying to do anything about the obvious problem with screen display. Websites all looked the same. They were all difficult to use. So to speak, every website was a big headache to deal with and people had no choice but to put up with it.

But in recent years, change happened.

Websites started to notice how difficult it is for people to zoom, pan, and move around the mobile versions of their site. Some websites are even incompatible with mobiles! Certainly, there was a need for change. This sparks the beginning of mobile responsiveness. Web designers and developers decided that websites don’t need to look so cluttered and small when viewed through smaller devices like smartphones and tablets. They can reprogram it to enhance adaptability. They can make it automatically responsive.

All the little efforts made in order to achieve this big change gave birth to the versatile and adaptable websites we know of today. If you’re website is still not mobile responsive, then you’re really falling behind the times. Everyone else is doing it. Will you really allow your competitors to get ahead of you? It’s a small change but it makes a big difference. It can even work to your advantage.

If other businesses in your industry are still not making a move to make their websites mobile responsive, you can pioneer this change. You can use it as a way to draw in more traffic. After all, users will prefer businesses that put their convenience first. Don’t you agree?

What You Should & Should Not Do When Making Your Website Mobile Responsive

Now, let’s move on to the main entrée. You and I both know that what your business needs now is a mobile responsive website. So, in order to achieve this, the next step you must take is to actually start building one. Luckily, you’ve come to the right article for help.

Mobile Responsiveness

Okay. Although I might not get into the nitty-gritty stuff about mobile responsiveness such as coding and HTML (that would be too technical so let’s just leave it to web developers for now), I will at least be able to give you a broad overview of what a good responsive website should be like in contrast to a bad one. Let’s start with what everyone can see first.

When it comes to design…

DO:
  • Keep your mobile design simple. We mean it. The simpler your website design is, the easier it will be to understand. Keep in mind that when you’re creating a website with smaller gadgets in mind, you have to prioritize maximizing space for the main content. You have to create emphasis on whatever you’re pitching or selling. Making your website too abstract or fancy will get in the way with that.
  • Stick with clear yet fluid fonts. For headings, use sans serif fonts. Those that create particularly big impact and emphasis are good. For text or paragraphs, use serif fonts. This will allow the reader to follow the thought of your content more fluidly. It helps ease the whole reading process. Be careful, though! Always be clear with serif and cursive fonts. Avoid cursive ones for they tend to be too distracting!
  • Add pictures where necessary. Note that the keyword here is “necessary” that means you should limit the graphics you use in your mobile website. There are two reasons for this. First, websites with a lot of media content takes a longer time to load and according to statistics, users are less likely to keep browsing a website when they find it too slow. Second, when websites have a ton of images and videos, they can get too distracting. People may not pay as much attention to important content anymore. Add images and videos that add more impact to your product or, at the very least, work their way to the products or services you want to pitch.
DON’T:
  • Using colors that are a little too bright is a bad idea. Why? Well, let’s just say that they can innocently blind you – especially when you’re browsing late at night with the lights off. Bright colors can be too distracting and a lot of people don’t like seeing them on small screens. However, using them as accents on your website should be fine. It actually adds to the happy atmosphere. Just choose colors that aren’t too bright. Cross neon colors off the list first.
  • Nonsense clutter will really make your website seem nonsensical. I mean it; I just can’t stress this enough. If you have no need for it, or if it doesn’t particularly add to the meaningfulness of your website, then don’t put it in. Ads, although profitable, can also be very annoying when you allow too many of them on your website. When users get fed up with all the popping and blinking, they’ll start leaving your website. And when they do, your website traffic will drop, dissatisfying ad buyers. In the end, you lose. Best keep things on the moderate so you get a win-win, don’t you agree?

When it comes to user convenience…

DO:
  • Two-way communication is a big trust factor. In many instances, communication has always solved a lot of the world’s problems. Looking at it the other way around, the lack or absence of communication ignites some of the world’s biggest problems. Allow potential clients to communicate with you and your business. Making a good line of communication open to the public will better your chances of building a solid trust foundation with them.
  • Make important pages visibly available. Inserting deeper links across your pages will just confuse your clients. If a certain page has important content, you should make it readily available for “clicking” right on the first page. You can’t expect users to find it if you have it buried deep within your website.
DON’T:
  • Using automated/robotic responses to answer inquiries may not make users too happy. Although I just said that communication is a very important factor in building trust, communicating half-heartedly can ruin your chances of establishing any level of trust – at all! Utilizing “chatbots” and all is a good strategy to maintain rapport with customers but if you are able to offer human assistance, then do that instead.
  • Pitching your product or service in every paragraph of every page is plain annoying. I mean, it’s okay to be salesy; it is your website, after all. But being TOO salesy is an entirely different thing and it can be a really BIG turn off for many people. Promote your product but do it in moderation, capeesh?

When it comes to content…

DO:
  • Focus on what users want and when they want it. Or in other words, don’t write about stuff people don’t care about at the moment. It can be a very relevant topic for your business but if people seem to dislike talking about it (for a number of reasons), then avoid posting content about it. You have to look at the bigger picture and pleasing others should be your top priority. Go where the majority takes you.
  • Create meaningful, relevant, and timely content. Yes, I think the first sentence says it all. On top of having entertaining content, you should also have valuable and meaningful content. We have, after all, entered an age of information. If people find your content displeasing or lacking in any manner, they can just head on to another website. And you don’t want that. Make them stay by showing them that you actually offer something that deserves their time.
DON’T:
  • Stop with the generic topics. There are literally a million topics in the world you can write about so why write about something that’s probably written about a gazillion times before? Look for fresh ideas and if you really have to write about a generic topic out of your own interests, make sure that you add new input that cannot be found anywhere else.
  • If you’re writing just to create website fodder, then expect users to leave your website sooner than they arrive. People know quality, okay? They’ll know if you’re trying to grab their attention for all the wrong reasons. If you just want the traffic, don’t expect them to stay for long or return, ever. You can have the most efficient and mobile responsive website in the world but if what’s inside is just a bunch of fluff, then people will just leave anyways. Always write with your readers in mind. It goes a long way.

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