What Elements Should You Eliminate When Building a Mobile Website?

by 3 12/14/2011

It’s a difficult choice to make.

Which elements should be eliminated from the mobile version of a website?

But there are certainly some best practices.

We asked our Crazy Egg Website Design experts what thy consider cutting when going mobile.

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Brian Schwartz, Spoke MarketingThis depends on the type of site. If a blog, I’ll happily hide navigation behind a click. If a normal site, I may scale back photography or hide photos as the site scales in size.

I really feel like a lot of Mobile design (especially the off-the-shelf plugins that do it for you) is eliminating the design / branding of the site and therefore I’m moving to Responsive Web Design when possible these days.
~ Brian Schwartz, Spoke Marketing

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Andrew PautlerThe great thing about mobile web design is that it forces you to really focus on what’s important on your site; you no longer have space for the clutter that fills so many desktop websites. With this mindset, I think the better question than “what should we cut” to think about is “what should we keep.” The answer to that question should almost always be the content. People come to your site for the content, so that’s what you should give them. The excessive navigation, oversized banner ads, 15 Facebook links on a single page, etc. are usually the things worth cutting when reducing your site to 320px. This is the benefit to designing your site “mobile first.” You begin with the mobile version and as you move to the desktop version, you will probably find most of the things you didn’t need in the mobile version you don’t need in the desktop version—even with the extra 700px available.

That said, mobile doesn’t and shouldn’t mean “watered down.” People come to your site for content whether from a mobile device or a desktop. Creating a “mobile” version of your site with limited content is not what the user wants. You can re-prioritize the content, but you shouldn’t hide or remove important content from the mobile version.
~ Andrew Pautler, Pautler Design

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Lara Swanson Dyn IncWeb designers should remember that the content for mobile and desktop should be quite similar – why would desktop users want any more content than someone on a mobile device? Keep it clean and usable in both places. If anything needs to be removed, it’s duplicate navigation and assets that weigh down page speed. But you shouldn’t have either of those things on a normal site either!
~ Lara Swanson, Dyn

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Sue Spencer, Spencer Web DesignYou must be able to respond to a very task-oriented mindset, so be prepared to simplify or completely change your navigation structure as well as simplify the content. Photos may still be important, logos and branding information are always important, but eliminating “fluff” will greatly improve the user experience while still allowing your core information to shine through.
~ Sue Spencer, Spencer Web Design

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Stephanie Hamilton, Hamilton DesignForemost, I’d eliminate any flash elements which won’t be supported. It’s also worthwhile to scale down the use of photos, as they don’t render so well on mobile devices. Any navigational elements that aren’t essential to the user on the go should also be eliminated. The user should be able to navigate the website as seamlessly as possible so having only the most critical elements on your mobile website is necessary.
~ Stephanie Hamilton, Stephanie Hamilton Design

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Cesar Keller, Simple FlameThe first thing to realize is that a mobile version is not a mere copy of the traditional desktop or laptop experience. Mobile websites should have context for the behavior that users will act upon while interacting with your brand. Once you understand this concept, its about providing the most essential and basic information to consumers.

This can easily be done by map/location, simple contact form, summarized content, FAQs, and streamlined offerings of top selling products/services. If you eliminate complicated menu and layout structures, you make it much easier for your end-users. Consider the simple things such as easy to read text, easy to tap buttons, easy to understand swipe actions, etc and you will be ahead of the game.

KISS. Keep it simple stupid and you can’t go wrong.
~Cesar Keller, SimpleFlame

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What are your thoughts? What do you consider eliminating when building a mobile website?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 COMMENTS

Dennis Brennan

It’s not about eliminating, to me, it’s all about providing basic “On The Go” content/information.

Think of the “Grocery” vs the “Convenience” stores. Mobile needs to be in and out, phone #, location and basic services provided.

You want that quick call to action, call, sign up or download.

February 1, 2012 Reply


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