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How to make your website look good on a mobile device

Updated on September 11, 2011

I have been designing websites for 16 years, but just got heavily into mobile website design. I find that most websites that are made for a desktop computer monitor look horrible on a mobile device like iphone and android look because the website was designed on a 21 inch monitor. Your mobile devices are not that big.

50% of people surfing the internet are now doing it on their mobile devices!
Now, it is as important as ever to make sure our website looks good on a mobile device since most people are on the go.

Going back to basics to design a website for a mobile device

I remember the old days when websites had one column. We had slower computers that could not handle the same websites we can create today for the desktop computer. Then, the technology to create websites with multiple columns became easy with tables and CSS layout, but when it comes to designing with your website for the mobile device, you need to go back to those old days. The mobile device is not that fast.

Most of my web design clients are now seeing the benefits of creating a mobile version of their website. Failure to do so can lose customers, business and money for my clients.

Here are the things we need to watch out for designing mobile websites:

  1. Keep your mobile website to just one column. Stay away from the multi column websites that look great on a desktop computer.

    Mobile devices average around two and half to three inches. Those two and three column websites will just not look good on the iphone. You need to determine how to layout or present your information in just one column.

    For those people with Wordpress blogs, we need to get rid of the sidebar since it presents another column.

  2. Most mobile websites do not display Flash.

    If you have a website that is mostly Flash, I have bad news for you. Flash is not supported by most mobile web browsers. You will need a different version of your Flash site so people can read it.

  3. Get rid of most of your graphics and photos and save people their battery power.

    Photos take a long time to download on a mobile device. That means more battery power gets used and wasted. We all know what a pain it is when our batteries do not hold a charge. Don't make this worse for your website visitors.

    Every web page on your mobile website should have 1 graphic and that is usually your logo or a header.

In conclusion, there are other aspects to consider when designing your mobile website, but it all comes does to these benefits for your website visitors (not in this order):

  1. Speed
  2. Saving battery life
  3. Legibility (being able to read the text without squinting.
  4. Easy and quick navigation.

If anyone needs a mobile of their Wordpress blog or website, please let me know.

Here's the ultimate test to see if YOUR website looks good on your mobile device:

Visit your website on your mobile device and ask your friends and family to do it also. Make sure your website's text can be read and the entire website does not take too long to load into your mobile device's web browser. If you have any problems loading your website, so will your website visitors and that can mean no repeat visits and worse, lost sales for your online business.


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    • profile image 5 years ago

      HotWebIdeas - read recently you should design for THUMBS - avoid pinch zoom - one column and big button for navigation

    • profile image

      Darlene 6 years ago

      Great tips, most people forget the importance of load times when designing a mobile website.

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 6 years ago from New York

      @psychicdog, yeah, drop the slideshow, because since it would load too slowly on a mobile device, people's battery lives would not be great.

      The fact that your mobile site is one column on a HTC is normal and the way it should be, so you got it right! ;)

      Glad you like the tips.

    • halola1999 profile image

      halola1999 6 years ago from cairo

      falg up' cool information.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      Great tips, though my site will be rendered in one column on an HTC which means the content thats important can be scrolled. Pinch zoom also helps. I dropped a slideshow I used to have - too slow loading...It is so hard for people to wait for their info!