From a global standpoint, mobile internet usage is quickly overtaking PC usage as the preferred way to surf the web. In fact, research suggests that nearly 50% of mobile web users now use it as their primary or exclusive channel online. This sweeping trend was first observed in 2014 and has since resulted in a greater shift towards optimizing the mobile landscape.
With so much traffic being generated by mobile users, it’s crucial to accommodate this segment with a fully responsive and mobile-friendly design. Google has even alluded to the importance of configuring your site for multiple devices. If left unchecked, it’s likely to result in low search rankings and poor indexing. This article will explore the top six techniques for mobile-friendly navigation.
Make Popular Pages Easily Accessible
Unlike PC users who land on your page and may be apt to browse different categories, the vast majority of mobile users are looking for something quite particular since they’re on the go. Before you can properly optimize your site you need to take an inventory of your most popular pages by traffic, interest and search volume. It helps to look at the hard facts. What do you analytics indicate is the driving force for mobile users? Are they most interested in your contact page? Does one category stand out among the others? After getting a good understanding, then you can tailor your user experience to match those needs.
Optimize Navigation for Minimal Distractions
Pop-ups, registration windows, and overlays can quickly clutter a mobile screen. An iPhone 6 is only 750 pixels in width which means you need to pay even closer attention to what’s occupying your mobile real-estate. Take into consideration what’s present above the fold, what components may be distracting and how to alleviate the issues a mobile user may experience. Some experts recommend limiting the number of navigation items between 4 and 8.
Create an Intuitive Interface
Multi-level navigation is wonderful, especially if it enhances mobile-friendliness but sometimes too many features can be problematic, not to mention a headache for developers. Drop down menus should be clearly visible and include visual cues that help the visitor navigate the page (i.e., arrows, plus signs, minus signs, etc.)
Remain Conscientious of Aesthetics
Just because your users screen is smaller than a traditional PC doesn’t mean their visual experience should suffer. Be conscientious of your mobile website’s aesthetic appeal. Ask yourself if things like the text and typography are easy to read? Does the background color cause an issue with visibility? Do you need to zoom in too much? All of these factors play a role in the overall site experience.
Fine Tune Design for Devices
Have you ever been on a mobile site that just wasn’t designed for your phone? Either the buttons were too close together making it nearly impossible to select the right one or your phone just wasn’t intuitive to the navigation? With so many types of smartphones on the market it can be difficult to customize your mobile site for each one but you can incorporate feedback into the navigation. Just this small addition can make a big difference in identifying problem areas and resolving them. It could be as simple as changing the font size or background color.
Be Consistent Across Devices
Chances are, if a mobile user is visiting your mobile site then at one time or another they’ve landing on your desktop page. If this is the case, it’s important to be consistent across platforms. This is not only to reinforce branding but also demonstrate congruence from one screen to the next.