Does Mobile Need to Be Considered When It Comes to User Experience?

Yell mobile apps
Apps are great for user satisfaction

The use of mobile devices to access the internet has hugely increased in recent times. More and more, people are using smartphones and tablet computers:

  • to find specific information, eg train times
  • to research products and prices before buying in a physical store
  • for entertainment on the move

User experience is definitely something to think about for people accessing your site this way – otherwise you could be missing out on an ever-growing market of mobile customers.

How can I improve the user experience for mobile devices?

When using a website on a mobile device, utility is far more important than stylish design. A user on the move doesn’t want to wade through unclear navigation and mountains of text – they want to complete their task (finding the information they need) as efficiently as possible.

To make your existing site more satisfying to use on mobile devices, you should:

  • use mobile-friendly style sheets during website build – this ensures the site displays well on different browsers and sizes of screen
  • keep image sizes small, and use clear alt text to identify what the image is – many mobile users choose not to download images from the web while browsing
  • break up your content with clear headings and subheadings, and keep it concise
  • highlight key text, to help users with a small screen pick out important points
  • make buttons large and easy to find and ‘hit’ – small buttons, labelled with small text, can be frustrating on a touchscreen device
  • remove unnecessary steps such as welcome screens
  • find alternatives to Flash animation, if your site uses it – it isn’t supported by all mobile browsers

What about mobile sites and apps?

If your existing site is very mobile-unfriendly (with lots of text and a complex design), building a separate, simpler mobile site could be a good idea.

Don’t forget you’ll have to maintain and keep both sites updated independently – changes made to one site won’t be reflected on the other.

Apps – pieces of software which help the user carry out a particular task – can perform extremely well for user experience. But they are a more expensive option for businesses for develop, as different apps need to be coded for each ‘platform’ (eg an app for an iPhone won’t work on an Android device).

A professional web design company can advise you on the different options and costs involved.