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Mobile Friendly Websites

17 UI Tips for Designing Mobile-Friendly Websites

By Samuel Klusmeyer & Felix Wolfstrom - Last Updated on 11/30/2021
Mobile-optimized design is essential to your website's findability, and ranking in search results. So, it's important to your business's success!

A focus on mobile user experience has been important for the last decade. In 2021, 58% of all multi-device purchases used a mobile device to close the sale.

An increase in mobile purchases means that you can to reach new niches easier. We say, onward toward the future!

Take a deep dive into mobile web design with us to learn the best mobile UX practices for your business. 

Why Are Mobile-Friendly Websites Important?

Mobile-friendly websites are essential to business success in 2021. This is true for several reasons.

Let's lead with another significant statistic: 54% of all web traffic is mobile. If you're not catering to mobile users, you're missing out on business. 

Now that smartphones dominate the market, mobile optimization is critical in web design. Now, you need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly if you want to rank high in the Google algorithm.

Google even provides a custom-made tool to help optimize your website’s design.

The Industry Guidelines for Mobile-Friendly Websites

Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. want you to use their products. So, they make information about their preferred mobile UX strategies easy to access. This often comes in the form of mobile-friendly web design tools and guidebooks. 

The number of mobile-friendly design tools puts UX designers in a great position. We get to interpret and combine a surplus of information to find the best possible solution.

So, let's cover the basics of mobile web design for the two most popular web browsers.

90% of your customers are likely to be using Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome on their mobile phones. The other 10% will be using a browser that takes design cues from these industry leaders. 

Apple’s Mobile UX Best Practices 

Apple's mobile UX best practices share space with their guidelines for mobile apps. At their core, they follow three tenets: 

  1. Clarity — Your website must be easy to understand. Text must be legible. Interactive elements must look interactive. Finally, icon suites should follow industry standards for design. 
  2. Deference — Your mobile web design must make the functionality of your site more clear. So, Apple often prefers minimalist designs. That also means that content should fill the entire screen when possible. 
  3. Depth — Your Mobile UX design should contain hierarchical layers. These layers should make the progression of information on your mobile-friendly website clear.

Google’s Mobile UX Best Practices

Google's Mobile UX guide recommends UX strategies uncovered during an academic study. The study in question is by Jenny Gove, a Ph.D.-holding UX researcher from Southhampton, UK. Gove states that mobile users are goal-oriented in a way desktop users aren’t.

She found that mobile users rarely 'browse the web.' Twitter, Instagram, etc now fulfill the needs of the average mobile user.

Mobile search often revolves around finding reviews or local businesses on the go. In other words, they need their information now. We can see Google's recognition of this desire in their 'Map Pack.' The Map Pack features three results in a mobile-friendly layout at the top of search results. 

Google places a lot of weight on mobile experience and mobile UX design. Google’s recommendations are:

  1. Keep calls to action front and center – customers come to your mobile site to use your services. Make accessing those services as immediate as possible! 
  2. Keep menus short and sweet – if a mobile user needs to scroll to use your menus, the menu is too long. 
  3. Make it easy to get back to the home page – mobile users expect your logo to link to your home screen. 
  4. Don't let promotions steal the show – pop-ups (and mobile pop-ups in general) are not mobile-friendly. They're slow to load and create a barrier between your customer and your site. This delay in information delivery often increases bounce rates. 
  5. Let users explore before they commit – customers are more likely to leave if you request personal information. This is more true on mobile than desktop. In other words, gated content is often bad.
  6. Make site search visible – an easy-to-find search function is critical if site search is central to your business. make sure your search function is easy to access outside any expanding mobile menus. 
  7. Use filters to narrow results – excessing scrolling on mobile sites is a barrier to conversion. Ensure customers can speed up their mobile search if your mobile pages are long. Take our client, Shipton’s Big R, as an example. Shipton’s has a large online store filled with every product under the sun. We created filters for Shipton’s customers to use when browsing products. Filters allow their customers to find exactly what they needed, when they needed it. 
  8. Use click-to-call buttons – add call buttons for mobile users. If a button feels like too much emphasis, a click-to-call text link can be an acceptable substitute.  
  9. Provide visual calendars for date selections – using a visual calendar makes choosing a date easy on mobile. 
  10. Optimize your entire site for mobile – your site design should be responsive. This means that the layout will change along with the screen size. A mobile design should do everything your desktop site aims to… but faster! The more efficient your mobile site is at delivering information, the better. 
  11. Make product images expandable – include large product images in your web design. Having the option to make a picture full-screen helps customers to see what they're buying.

Designing Mobile Sites to Optimize for Page Load Time

One of Google's tenants for their 'web vitals' measurement is 'blocking time.'
Blocking time measures the amount of time your browser takes to format your website. The simpler the design, the faster it will load. 

Blocking time is especially important for mobile sites because they load slower. Your mobile browser needs time to interpret your site outside of a desktop format.

Make your web design efficient and straightforward to help it load faster. Follow Apple's advice and stick to large, elegant elements. 

You can also combat mobile load times by following the correct coding practices. No matter what, the best mobile UX designs make load time a priority from the very start of the design process. So, design your website for the real world if you want it to be effective.

Our Professional Mobile UX Design Best Practices

Our UX design team also has several best practices that we like to follow. These guidelines help us ensure the best mobile-friendly experience we can. Our sites are all custom-built using our in-house framework. So, we can optimize your site for the best mobile experience possible.

Here are three ways that we've made your customer's mobile experience extra enjoyable. 

1. Mobile Site Menus

Menus are critical in mobile design. They need to be large and easy to use and small enough to stay out of the way during navigation. Mobile menu design often compromises by using an icon that users can use to access a drop-down menu.

Our web design team has adopted this approach in most situations. We find that it minimizes intrusive elements in a mobile user's experience.

JTech’s Mobile Menu: Collapsed
JTech’s Mobile Menu: Collapsed
JTech’s Mobile Menu: Expanded
JTech’s Mobile Menu: Expanded

2. Element Positioning on Mobile Screens

Phones use touch-based navigation, and the majority of the world is right-handed. Anywhere from 
OnSite Energy Homepage
OnSite Energy Homepage
70-95% percent of people are right-handed, depending on locality. So, the average mobile user will interact with the right side of their phone screen first. 

We do our best to place your site's most important UX elements on the right-hand side on mobile devices. Take OnSite Energy—one of our customers—as a great example.

We placed their 'Get Quote' button near the bottom right of their site menu. This is as close to their customer's thumbs as possible—encouraging conversions.

3. Baking Accessibility Into Mobile UX Design

Finally, JTech bakes accessible design into every website that we create. ADA compliance makes your mobile-friendly website easier for everyone to use. 

In a mobile context, accessible design means easy-to-read text, contrasting colors (see OnSite Energy’s website above), and large buttons sized for thumbs—not mouse pointers. 26% of adults in the U.S. have some type of disability. So, great mobile-friendly websites always have a focus on accessibility. 

Wondering whether your website is accessible? Look at it and think—could anyone I know use this on their phones? If the answer is yes, then you're very close to having an accessible website! (You can also use the WCAG's accessibility guidelines or ask us for an accessibility audit... which might be more helpful.)

Tapping Back Around: A Summary of Mobile-Friendly Design

Let's sum up everything we've learned so far about mobile UX. 

  1. Mobile-friendly website design is critical to the success of your website.
  2. Industry-leading browsers all make easy-to-find UX and UI guides (use them!)
  3. Menus on mobile should make finding the right page easy.
  4. A good, mobile-friendly website is an accessible website

We hope you found our Mobile UX information and how-to guide helpful. If you would like to learn more about mobile-friendly website design or if you want our web design help, please reach out! We would love to hear from you.

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Samuel Klusmeyer: Content Specialist

About Samuel Klusmeyer

Samuel Klusmeyer is a content marketing professional with 6+ years of experience writing helpful, search-optimized content that converts. Sam helps clients optimize their website copy or write new copy that speaks directly to their target audience. He leads JTech's internal content marketing efforts — including emails, social media accounts, and E-E-A-T-optimized website articles. 

Felix Wolfstrom: Senior Designer

About Felix Wolfstrom

Felix Wolfstrom has 13+ years of experience in human interface design. He currently serves as JTech’s Senior Designer. Felix’s experienced approach to web design guides every website JTech creates. He focuses on useable, meaningful design that doesn’t compromise on aesthetic value.