How to Alienate Your Mobile Audience

Posted In: Usability, By , 4 Comments

As the Internet becomes even more commonplace and accessible, thanks to the advent of smartphones and tablets, alienating your audience is even easier than before, too. It’s as simple as neglecting proper design for mobile sites, rendering them inaccessible to those who prefer their handy iPhone over a full size desktop computer.





Keeping Users Away with Bad Layout

The easiest way to keep people away from your site is to ignore the limitations of mobile devices, which typically have much smaller screens and lack the precise input of a mouse and keyboard. Typically, a web browser will try to squeeze the content of a full size webpage into the device’s screens, leading to unpredictable results that are as hilarious as they are unusable. Webpages for mobile devices need to prioritize accessibility and readability, achieved by streamlined navigation and easy access to content without having to wade through tons of images and text.

Treating Device Memory as if It Was Made of Rubber

After bad layout comes low efficiency. While smartphones and their larger cousins are much more powerful than their ancestor phones, they are still far cry from the capabilities of modern computers. Huge, image heavy websites may load up fast and work beautifully on a desktop, but they will be sluggish and cumbersome on a mobile device with limited memory. To avoid this, go easy on the images and other content that increases load times when putting your mobile websites together.



Using Flash


Adobe Flash is a good way to disappear from the face of the mobile Internet. As a third party plugin, it not compatible with browsers in mobile operating systems, including the two giants of the sector, iOS and Android. Simply put, they do not display Flash content at all. HTML5 is gradually emerging as an alternative to using Flash-based content, but the best way to avoid problems in this category is to not use Flash at all.

Limiting the Amount of Content

The point of creating mobile websites is to give users accessing them with mobile devices an easy to use interface to access the site’s content. Ideally, the only difference between your full website and the mobile one is that the latter has a simplified layout, easier to navigate on a hand-held device. Forcing uses to access the full website to get to the content they want means you’ll soon be back at square one.

Designing mobile websites is an interesting challenge: You have to retain the same type of content as on your full size webpage. However, you also have to strip the site free of unnecessary components, without compromising functionality and accessibility. An ideal mobile website is simple and elegant, retaining functionality without bloating the page size. It is also light, loading up fast. At the same time, it doesn’t force users to go through tens of subpages to reach the content they need. It’s a powerful platform for reaching out, but at the same time, it makes alienating mobile users very easy.

About the Author:

Web designer/developer holding Masters degree in IT, currently living in Australia. Passionate about Wordpress, PHP, Fireworks and Jquery.
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