What really grinds my gears close

Nicola Copsey
Nicola Copsey
In Grinds My Gears
18th August 2011
What really grinds my gears

Welcome to 'what really grinds my gears' - a corner of the Codegent blog to vent about the things that are getting under our skin. Lately for me, a digital Project Manager here at Codegent, it has to be mobile sites, or probably the lack of suitably designed mobile sites.

With more users switching to using the internet on the move, it's now even more important for websites to have a suitable mobile version which can easily be accessed by mobile handsets. We’re not just talking about having a mobile site suitable for iPhone and iPad users. Apps have become a crucial accessory to the Smartphone user. 

The experience for the mobile user should be quick, and smooth. Allowing them to access the content they’re trying to get to without blocking them with functionality limitations, such as “this site requires Flash to access this content” and “sorry, this content isn’t available for your device”. Like every other mobile user, when I am out and about, I need to check my e-mail, reply to messages, and check out a street address on a map. All of these things you can easily do nowadays on mobile sites, except for maybe the mobile maps (you still need an App for that). 

Mobile sites should be friendly for all mobile users. Not everyone is using an app-friendly handset. Remember not to alienate your customers and audience by not considering their needs. We understand you can’t give a user full functionality on a simple mobile version of your site, but give them the crucial elements they need to use your site. 

Bearing that in mind, here are my top tips you should consider when designing a mobile version of your website:

1) Prioritise your content. 
Mobile sites usually include only the most crucial information, including time- and location-specific functions and features. 

2) Keep the graphics light on your mobile site. 
Images take time to download, and when you’re mobile, time is money, quite literally in data fees from your provider!

3) Navigation
Let your user get from A to B and back to A again with a simple navigation. Research shows that vertical navigation works best on mobile sites, with over 90% of sites using a vertical navigation instead of horizontal.

Give me the information I need in a quick and timely fashion, keeping me on time and not wound up by error messages. And that is what will keep me from grinding my gears!