Mobile Development

Web Design for mobile devices

Mobile Development

Mobile Optimized Layout

The proportion of visitors to your web site who are using smart phones or other mobile devices is currently around 30% and rising steadily. A site that works well on mobile devices is no longer a “nice to have” feature but an assumed part of any web development strategy.

What sort of an experience are mobile visitors having at your site? Do they encounter a site designed for a smaller screen or one that is simply shrunk down to fit in the browser screen? The screenshot on the left shows what unoptimized sites look like on a smart phone screen. The user is forced to zoom in, scroll up, scroll down, zoom out, scroll sideways…

Many visitors to such a site that is not optimized for mobile devices will simply abandon it and look elsewhere.

So does that mean you need to have a totally separate site just for mobile? In most cases no.


Responsive Design

Alaska Web Crafters practices responsive design in the development of most sites. Responsive web pages are fluid, meaning the content moves freely across all all devices and screen resolutions. Just as a liquid spreads out or draws in to allow its content to fill an allotted space and retain its appearance, responsive web design’s fluidity achieves the same result with website content on a device screen.But as the site owner there is only one set of content data to keep current.

There are a lot fewer pixels available on mobile screens so the design and layout needs to be simpler. For example, you can’t use a three column, or even two column layout on a smart phone. A few design considerations for mobile design include:

  • Use a one-column layout, or two-column that flows to one on a small screen.
  • Use fewer graphics to save screen space and load time.
  • Load smaller versions of images for small screens
  • Simplify navigation (no three levels deep sub-menus)
  • Make links and buttons larger. Fingers are fatter than cursors.
  • If you are on a desktop monitor just grab the corner of your browser and make the window small to see what the page looks like on a mobile device screen.

Easier to Maintain - Lower Cost

Two of the significant advantages of having a single site compared to having two separate websites are cost and ease of maintenance. One website costs less than two, and the savings can be substantial.

If you have a separate mobile site it doubles the amount of time required to keep both sites up to date. Or, as often happens, your mobile site gets neglected. Often mobile versions of a site are stripped down and lack the full functionality and content of the desktop version. But the content you eliminate from the mobile site might be exactly the information your mobile users are looking for.

Sites designed solely for mobile device traffic don’t offer the advanced navigational techniques found in traditional websites, and they also require the user to maintain two separate web addresses for your site. This is inconvenient for most people and can cause them to check out the competition’s website. Responsive web design enhances SEO efforts by having all your visitors directed to a single site no matter what they prefer to use as a device.

If you’re ready to get your site fully mobilized give us a call and we can discuss options and strategies that will be cost-effective solutions to your mobile web needs.


Mobile Friendly

In 2015 Google modified their search ranking algorithm to include “mobile friendliness”. There are a number of factors that are analyzed including:

  • Does the page display full-width on the screen or is part of it off-screen requiring horizontal scrolling?
  • Is there enough space between links to accommodate fingers?
  • Is navigation easy to use on a small screen?
  • How long does it take a page to load?

Sites that don’t pass Googles test can suffer by getting ranked lower in search results.

Use Google’s online tool to find out how Google sees your site.

If you would like to make your site perform better on mobile devices give us a call and we can work with you to map out a strategy.

We are happy to provide a free analysis of your existing site with recommendations for improvements.