The Most Damaging Potholes and Pitfalls In Your Mobile Web Design

by 10 10/05/2011

Mobile devices have changed the web design game.  Forever.

Gone are the days that you could test your web design on a few desktops and laptops and grab a latte.

Today, it’s your site visitor that is sipping the latte as they visit your site from a myriad of mobile devices.  How does your site stack up in the mobile age?

We asked our Crazy Egg Design Experts to weigh in on the most damaging mistakes made in mobile design:

One of my biggest pet peeves in mobile design (or lack thereof) is not having enough padding on links and buttons to allow for people with larger fingers to tap easily. Another thing is increasing the size of your body text as well as the line height.
~ Chris Wallace, Lift

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A common mistake that leads to poor mobile user experience would be to simply scale down your existing website to view in a mobile device, while not taking into consideration the usability concerns inherent in the medium. Such actions leave visitors unable to successfully navigate your site (i.e. buttons and links aren’t sized for the human fingertip). Businesses need to first create a mobile strategy and determine what needs to be on the mobile site, then simplify the design to accommodate to the smaller screen.
~ Stephanie Hamilton, Stephanie Hamilton Design

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The biggest mistake I see today is trying to accomplish too much, or transfer the traditional desktop/laptop experience over to mobile. The behavior and actions that users take on mobile devices is way different. If designers cannot understand the decisions, inclinations, and behaviors of a mobile experience, they won’t get it right.

Simplicity is key and both context/content are critical for success. Designers need to keep in mind that users have to deal with smaller screen sizes, awkward input techniques, and make decisions in less time as compared to traditional experiences. Poor mobile user experience comes out of ignorance for the core goals that need to be established. Less is more.
~ Cesar Keller, SimpleFlame

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Not planning and testing for it. I also see a lot of sites that don’t scroll properly for iPads and other tablets. Some sites work ok on mobile browsers with only a few browser tweaks.

Creating a text-friendly version of a site can be a nice option, especially if your audience could have bandwidth restrictions on their mobile device (like Canadian carriers).
~ Brian Schwartz, Spoke Marketing

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A common mobile mistake is simply not testing the site for mobile. Open it up, see how it looks on an iPhone, on an Android device, etc. You may not need to go to great lengths to make it “compatible”, but at least make sure it works. A broken menu makes for a poor mobile experience and it can easily be resolved if you’ll just check.
~ Jonathan Wold, Sabramedia, LLC

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The most common mistake I see that leads to a poor mobile experience is simply not putting oneself in the user’s shoes. What do they really want to do from their phone? I have a local news station’s app on my phone, and it takes 10+ clicks to get to snow forecasts during the winter. On their website, all their map forecasts are in Flash. They forgot to think about what users who are on their phones want to do.
~ Lara Swanson, Dyn

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The most common mistake I see is lack of testing. Testing for mobile can be a daunting tasking considering how many mobile devices and platforms are available. There is nothing uncommon about finding mobile sites that simply don’t function on a particular device. In the beginning of any project, it is important to establish an agreed-upon list of devices that your team will insure functionality on.
~ Shane Adreon, The Loud Few

 

What are your thoughts?  What damaging potholes and pitfalls do you see in mobile website designs?  We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

Image courtesy of dailyfood

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10 COMMENTS

Pj Schott

The most common thing I see is no regard at all for mobile users. Try finding the location of a store from your car using your mobile device. You might as well go home again and use the big girl computer.

October 10, 2011 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    @Pj Schott — I know what you mean! It’s frustrating but it is certainly improving. More and more brick and mortar businesses are recognizing the importance of mobile.

    October 10, 2011 Reply

Angie Schottmuller (@aschottmuller)

I totally agree with Chris Wallace on the link padding issue for mobile. It’s very frustrating to have to try to zoom to make sure you click on the right action.

Another common pitfall is forgetting to incorporate social sharing links for mobile. The left floating sidebar option for share buttons is becoming more popular, but most mobile versions chop that off and the links are no longer available. Mobile users are more inclined to be share-savvy, so it’s imperative to provide those share links (with adequate link padding) in the mobile version.

November 30, 2011 Reply


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