Ok – Maybe not with quite the destructive power MTV had with the introduction of music via video, but we are speeding in the fast lane of content and functionality over design with our current mobile-first responsive web sites. Is this a good thing? Maybe. But just open your phone browser, start visiting sites and you’ll notice something – all the sites look the same.
Designing sites for the mobile web is something we have to do. But lets think of how we can keep from homogenizing the web, as well as our clients’ brands. Maybe this is our chance to help our clients stand out more because the playing field has been leveled by responsive themed templates. Here are a few things we can consider:
Put down your iphone and hire a photographer. The best way to have your site get noticed and to build a beautiful experience (even on a template on mobile) is to have gorgeous photography. Photography will beat the loss of design opportunities in the small world of mobile.
Think about texture. Bring your branding elements into a small space by showing texture rather than just flat colors. Create some waves, make something round, and overlay a pattern that is already a part of your brand.
Showcase a great logo. Even more reason to have an identifiable logo. Its probably the first thing someone will see on your mobile site, and likely takes up a lot more of the screen than it does on the desktop version. So make sure it is representative of your brand and not just web-friendly text.
Avoid pdfs. Restaurants are usually the biggest offender here using pdfs as menus. It is the easy way out, but very often not readable on mobile, or at the least, requires zooming and left to right scrolling.
Create an interactive experience. We often forget when designing for the desktop that our responsive mobile partner doesn’t have rollovers. Be sure to build in clues to the user that the site is clickable by putting in little flashes or movements on all your clickable icons or graphics.
Re-arrange the content. Mobile viewers are looking for content first, so be sure to arrange the mobile version as such. Put contact info, reservation information, hours, etc. up top, even if they are lower on the screen on your desktop site.
Create custom icons. These can still look good in a smaller size and can give quick clues to the organization of your content, as well as fit your brand and create design style and interest.
At Redroc, we build responsive sites every day. Contact us to see how we can enhance your mobile experience.