A guest post by John K. Taylor
Mobile broadband devices are simply everywhere today. Get on a train and there’s someone emailing away on their iPad, walk down through a shopping mall and you’ll see dozens of commuters multitasking as they update their Facebook and Twitter statuses. With the popularity of Apple’s iPad and iPhone, and now Google’s Android, it’s impossible not to imagine that mobile broadband devices will change the future of web design enormously. In fact, they already have.
In 2011, web design trends have displayed a huge amount of attention in ensuring compatibility across the full range of mobile broadband devices. Take a look across any recently designed website and you will be able to clearly observe the ways in which it has been modified to fit mobile devices.
For example, many recent websites favour an incredibly simplistic design with plainly coloured backgrounds, brief text and clear fonts that are easy on the eye on smaller screened devices. Web design has also become more focused on compatibility with multiple view ports which has resulted in an increase in single page website layouts. Single page websites feature a web design that is cut back to the basics, providing visitors with only the information that is absolutely necessary, which significantly reduces page load times (a factor of concern with mobile viewing devices).
Another recent trend in web design that is no doubt due to the incredible popularity of mobile broadband devices is the common decision to prepare two versions of a website – an original version and a mobile site which displays a linked option to visit the original web version of the site. As mobile devices come to be used in a more widespread way, the need for preparing various alternative versions of a web design is likely to increase – especially with the news that smart phones are predicted to outsell computers in 2011. Any web design that is not optimised for mobile devices will be invisible to a large percentage of the tech savvy population.
A further way in which mobile devices have already affected web design is due to their tendency to be touch screen devices. Because smart phones and tablet computers operate only with touch screen navigational systems, web designers have had to adapt to become far more fingertip friendly.
Will mobile devices change the future of web design even further? Without doubt – but as far as what exactly might change in the future, well, things are changing so quickly right now in terms of devices and their internet functionality that it’s difficult to predict. In 2011, the tendency seems to be toward the development of increasingly smaller, lighter, and faster mobile broadband devices. If device design trends keep progressing in this direction, website designers will need to adapt the tried and true principles of web design in order to keep up.
Another thing’s for certain – cross-browser testing will continue to become more important than ever, especially in the future where web designers may be challenged with the task of preparing a website that displays equally as well on a standard computer screen as on a screen the size of a wristwatch.
Luckily, web developers are also working overtime to produce applications that will make the process of producing mobile websites a little easier, so the process of ensuring your website design is compatible with all the popular mobile devices should soon be simplified. However, at the rate that mobile broadband devices are changing and developing, this is a constant challenge for IT professionals, and it is certain mobile devices will continue to defy and define the limits of website design.
John has been working as a freelance writer for a Melbourne web design company popularly known as Infinite IT Solutions that has been providing web designing, development, online marketing, graphic designing and seo services to their clients in Melbourne and Sydney.