There is a basic underlying principle in mobile computing. First and foremost, we have to be clear in our understanding that mobile is a different platform. Although it is supposed to display the same value of information as the regular desktop, the mobile phone is a very different equipment compared to regular PC. It’s not just the small display.
Several factors key in making the mobile device an entirely different animal. The way mobile phones are used, the time of the day they are most likely to be used, and most important, the type of information accessed through it, all these are differing factors that directly and indirectly affect each other.
When making a mobile version of a website, most companies fall into the regular pitfalls can be easily avoided once we understand the basic underlying principle. This principle is the fact that mobile is a different platform. Once we understand this truth, then we can avoid the pitfalls.
Here are the seven most common.
1. Landing page – for desktops
This mistake is very basic and yet a lot of websites out there do this over and over. Basic truth: mobile display screen is small. You created a responsive website but you forgot to include an optimised landing page. How basic is that mistake? Who would want to scroll sideways, on a mobile?
2. Unreadable and tiny fonts and links
Again, the basic truth. Mobile screen is small. There is a huge limit for the user in terms of visual space. Add the fact that the user is most likely not using a pointer mouse but rather, his or her own forefinger in browsing the web. Mobile content creators should be wary of these limitations. Make the text and links bigger and easy to read.
3. Menus that sticks
Since the mobile display is already small, more spaces should be reserved for content. That is the reason why menus are hidden and only display when users access them. Users want to see the content and if the menu is blocking the view, users would most likely leave the site. Make sure the menus are out of the way, or can be easily closed by the user.
4. Popup Windows
Popup windows are already irritating on a desktop. In mobile, they are infuriating. Take note that users’ patience are already thin on a desktop. In mobile, that short patience becomes even more shorter. If you have to do popups, if there’s no way around it, at least minimize it.
5. Missing content and features
What’s available for the desktop should be available for mobile too. Users find it frustrating if they cannot access certain sections of a site when using a mobile device. Especially if that section or app is available when viewed through a fancy desktop. And users know this and they become frustrated. They see it as discrimination.
6. Non-accomodating messages
There’s nothing more infuriating for a user than seeing a message in a site that says: “Please use a 1080 x 736 desktop for maximum viewing experience.” You can almost hear them answer,”Yes, I’d do that except that I’m on subway and using my mobile phone.” It’s already clear that the mobile device is not going away. Forcing users to use a desktop is tantamount to turning them away.
7. Slow Pages
Mobile users are most likely browsing with 3G connection. Add that to the fact that the mobile device’s OS is not as fast and sturdy as a PC. In lieu of this, pleas make sure that all the mobile content are optimised for mobile display. For what use is the information if it cannot be accessed?
In sum, all these pitfalls can be easily avoided. Given the right understanding of what users want displayed on their mobile devices gives us the upper-hand. It is now up to us if we want to convert users or turn them away.