Tips & Guidelines for A Better Mobile UX - pt2

Mobile websites are not just a trend; they meet the user’s demand for a better and more rational use of their time. If we are already out of the office and need to check if the product we want to buy is effectively in the store we are confidently heading to, it’s nice to be able to check this on the fly while on the metro, right? So let’s make sure not to produce a mobile website just because everybody has one, but to make our clients happy, with a real mobile experience that will give them what they need and not just what we want. Broadband is not always with you Bandwidth optimization is a rare practice in desktop-oriented web development nowadays, because we assume that broadband is available to most of our users, but when considering the mobile network, the scenario is different. Data plans are seldom limitless (2GB/month is a pretty common value), the signal can be weak, high-speed networks (4G) are not around everywhere, and mobile networks are, in general, less reliable than their landline-based counterparts. Resource optimization becomes a necessary step to undertake when starting a mobile project and, apart from the usual technical practices like responsive images and asset request cuts, the entire user experience has to be redesigned with simplicity and efficiency in mind. The UX designer who desires to optimize the mobile version of a website must first focus on what is essential: be ready to get rid of all the elements that add value or visual glare on desktop but can be discarded on mobile, without decreasing the quality of the browsing experience. A mobile layout has to be much easier and simpler than its desktop counterpart; that is what users expect so there’s no reason to transpose every element, especially the ones that need to be redesigned to maintain their functionality. Portrait mode is the king – but please don’t forget landscape Most users handle the phone in portrait mode and websites are all designed with this in mind, but there’s also a landscape mode that offers significant more room for a design improvement, so why not take advantage of it? You could design a specific section better, display more information or even provide extra features. iOS makes extensive use of this approach. Mobile websites have to be responsive – or else! A responsive website, ideally, should be fluid, gently adapting itself to every resolution, not just to the common ones. However, too often we see websites that, when viewed in an uncommon or supposedly not used resolution, fails to display itself decently. This happens because we write media-queries with a glitch-fixing attitude instead of building a really fluid experience. The limits of this approach, as time passes by, become more and more evident since even more devices hit the market. Before the release of the iPhone 6, the standard viewport width was 320 px (even though some Android terminals with a different viewport size were already out, their market share was considered still too fragmented to hit the statistics) and we designed with only that size in mind for a long time. It was Apple’s new phone, with its 375 px viewport, that revealed the limits of a too strict fixed-width mobile strategy. Phone screens are becoming larger and larger, while mini-tablets already have a relevant market share: basically every resolution is covered by one or more devices. So it makes no sense anymore to develop only with a fixed-width strategy: make it fluid! In search of errors Searching for UX bugs in a website can be a tiresome task, but it will be much quicker if you know where usual errors lies. Read on to find out more about common UX mistakes. Use standard UX and design patterns. Mobile interfaces can be tricky; a lot of research has been made on them and there are standard prototypes that solve many complications and make users comfortable. Walking away from some standard conventions may disorient your users and don’t necessarily make you more creative.Do not assume that users will certainly scroll down your page; they will do that only if it is undoubtedly clear that some relevant information is present below the fold.Beware of too long pages; they will make users less likely to scroll down to the bottom. Remember this if there is some vital information in your footer.If you have modal windows (not recommended, remember?) in your design, be careful with the closing buttons: if they are too small they will become hardly clickable. The risk of trapping the users inside the modal window is quite high and they will not come back, for sure.If someone needs to use a pinkie for browsing your interface, you probably need to design bigger buttons and elements.Beware of scrolling overlap. To scroll a page you need to place a finger on the screen, and you should have the space to do that: if your page is full of clickable elements, it will be hard to place a finger on the screen for scrolling without accidentally clicking them. … one last small hint Hopefully, the most important concept that you got from this article is that when designing for mobile, making a good responsive website that scales well is not enough. You have also to take care of the numerous details and micro-interactions that happen on the page.Making errors is pretty common and totally understandable; as we have not been designing specifically for mobile for all that long. On the other hand, the topic has been pretty hot recently (I mean… for the last five years, at least), and the web is full of resources and hints to easily bend the mobile UX to our will. And there’s one more thing… stay tuned, since we are going to talk about UX for mobile apps, one of these days.

More great blog posts from Alessandro Loverde

  • Tighten Your CMS Security

    A small investment early in the deployment phase can go a long way to creating a secure environment. Fine tuning permissions Every CMS allows administrators to set permissions for different users or groups and, for the sake of better security, one should check that editors can only do what they...

  • Image Optimization: A Comprehensive Roundup - pt.1

    In the beginning, the World Wide Web was all about optimization. Standard speed was around 3 kb per second, and hosting space larger than 5 MB was expensive. Then broadband became available for everyone, and web designers grew less and less obsessed with image optimization. Nowadays, younger web...

  • Video Tutorial: Building a React App - pt5: Working with External Data

    In the previous part of this tutorial we explored components: the distinctive React feature. We did no magic because we wanted to focus on the basic structure of components, but now the time has come to explore the advantages of generating code employing external data. Replacing hard-coded with...

  • Five Quick Tips Before You Start Your Next SaaS Project

    There are many web apps around, some good, some bad, some are kind of life-changing while others lay almost forgotten, but making a SaaS app is something definitely bigger; a good programmer and a talented designer are not enough. The concept of Software as a Service looks far ahead and...

  • Strategies for a Multilingual Website

    Having a website just in English may be okay for most businesses. In fact, even if you occasionally need to reach foreign visitors, you can expect that whoever is interested in your services has enough knowledge of English to clearly understand what you are offering. But if you sell something...

  • HTTPS and SEO: How to Cover your Assets and Avoid Common Pitfalls

    Back in 2014, Google started to consider making the use of a secure connection (HTTPS) a parameter in their search algorithm. It began with just a 1% weight over all the other factors, but they pushed it further and further; and now, in 2018, every professional website must be served through a...

  • WordPress and SEO; Costly Missteps to Avoid

    WordPress is often a popular choice for a website builder and it is appreciated by many because it gives the users a lot of freedom regarding tools and plugins. Unfortunately, this approach is not good for your SEO because WordPress does not offer many SEO tools out of the box and, if you don't...

  • Video Tutorial: Building a React App - pt3: Code Components

    In the previous part of this tutorial we have converted an existing HTML page into a React app, but we have not seen much interactivity so far. In this new chapter we start exploring one of the most interesting React features, the components. Let's build something dynamic We are going to create...

  • Rising Stars and Falling Comets in the CSS Universe

    CSS is our friend; the relationship between it and web designers has been a bit turbulent over time, but near the end of the first decade of the new millennium, it settled down with mutual love and respect (in the meantime Internet Explorer has met its fate but nobody mourns the loss, right?)....

  • A Bit of SASS Magic: Automatic Text Color in CSS

    We already talked about SASS and how it can revolutionize your approach to writing CSS. We talked about variables and indenting; powerful features but easy to handle nevertheless. We mentioned that SASS has more advanced functions, and in this article we are going to explore a handy one. The SASS...

  • This Is How We Do It - The TROX Case Study

    TROX understands the art of handling air like no other company. It’s a dynamic firm and, through research and development, TROX became a global leader of innovation in ventilation systems. A business can be efficiently run only with efficient tools and TROX has chosen Scrivito to manage over 70...

  • How to Up Your UX Best Practices for Mobile Apps - pt2

    One central guideline for a designer is to have a clear understanding of the medium, the way users will interact with our design. It can be a television, a computer, a book, or any number of things: design is everywhere. A mobile phone is not just a small computer; it has its own unique features...

  • DOM Filtering with jQuery - What You Need to Know

    We have already given an introduction to the jQuery library, showing how useful it can be for web designers and developers: it simplifies the JavaScript syntax for lots of useful DOM-related tasks and it can dramatically speed up the routines to select DOM elements. Now it’s time to expand your...

  • How to Up Your UX Best Practices for Mobile Apps - pt1

    The concept of mobile apps has greatly evolved: with the first apps, developers tried to replicate the same experience of a desktop but, given the limited resources, the results were pretty different and, in some cases, disappointing. A more modern approach is to create mobile apps that offer the...

  • Video Tutorial: Building a React App - pt2: Installation

    In the first post of this video tutorial series, the basics of React.js were covered. Now it’s time to move a bit forward: we will install React.js and configure it. Eventually, the web page of the standard web application will show up in the browser. The installation process The very first step...

  • Obscure HTML 5 Features That May Make Your Day

    Stumbling into one of those popular, so called “cyber cafès” means that nowadays you will probably find tables occupied by hipster-like web designers, delighting themselves into glorifying the moment when they embraced SASS, React.js, jQuery, Node JS, Ember, Bootstrap, Angular and others. Well...

  • You Asked For It - Scrivito Features & Benefits

    The web is changing at a truly fast pace! New technologies break into the market more rapidly than before. The period of caution and skepticism grows shorter, as the IT world has finally understood the impact of being stuck for too long on technologies which are reliable but outdated. The time to...

  • Getting Sassy with SASS - Your First Steps

    CSS is great and there would be no web without it: if you have been involved enough to remember the state of the web in the late nineties, you will immediately get the point (probably, along with a couple of shivers). Unfortunately, CSS has its limitations and they are not easy ones; that’s why...

  • DOM Traversing with jQuery - What You Need to Know

    The Document Object Model (DOM) is an object-oriented representation of a web page which can be modified with a scripting language, like JavaScript: we can think of the DOM as a representation of an HTML page in a way JavaScript can understand. JQuery is a very popular JavaScript library that...

  • Tips & Guidelines for A Better Mobile UX - pt1

    When the iPhone came out it started the mobile web revolution: for the first time, we could browse web pages on a mobile phone in a decent and usable way. As soon as people had started to do that, the limits of the resizing technology used became evident, accompanied by a high demand for a...

  • Five Quick Tips to Learn JavaScript Faster

    JavaScript has been around quite a while now and we can almost consider it part of the ”old wide web”. But the JavaScript we use now has evolved immensely since its first days. We could better say that what really evolved were the projects that had JavaScript as their core and that made the web...

  • Video Tutorial: Building a React App - pt1: Introduction

    Anybody interested in Javascript development has likely stumbled on MVC frameworks, a term that is pretty much going strong recently and defines a library built according to the “model - view - controller” design pattern. React.js is a Javascript library that acts as the “view” part of an MVC...

  • Traditional, Headless or Decoupled: The New State of CMSs

    Headless CMS is a term that has been on everybody’s lips recently, along with Content as a Service and Decoupled CMS. Actually, these three concepts are very closely related; you can’t talk about any of them without citing the others as well but, for a better insight on the topic, talking about...