Top Tips for Designing Exceptional Mobile UX
More and more products and services are designed mobile-first every day, and for a good reason. Nowadays, we live in a world where we bring our phones everywhere, which hasn’t always been the norm.
Today, designers need to think about fitting plenty of information that a monitor usually shows into a much smaller screen. Besides that, designers must keep themselves updated on the various structures on mobile devices that are constantly emerging in the space (notch displays, selfie cameras, etc.).
However, designing for mobile isn’t impossible, and we’ve done all the research, so you don’t have to. But before we go into the tips and tricks, let’s look at why designing UX for mobile is essential.
Why is designing UX for mobile important?
User experience for mobile grew dramatically in 2014 when smartphone users instantly became the online majority. Designers quickly find out that they can’t just make a smaller version of a desktop interface. Instead, they need to re-evaluate the growing audience’s needs and desires.
Since then, mobile users have constantly been changing to find the best use for smaller screens. Designers now tailor experiences specifically for mobile environments.
People have shorter attention spans in mobile UX. People want faster results with minimal effort and a flawless experience. Visitors also tend to get distracted easily and may use mobile while walking or doing other activities. Mobile users usually find themselves in these three scenarios:
- Micro tasking — people use devices to complete a task quickly. For example, buying movie tickets;
- Local — people use devices to stay updated about the things happening around them;
- Bored — they scroll for news feeds or social media while waiting.
3 tips for designing mobile UX
There are plenty of things that UX designers need to focus on. And with over 6 billion smartphone users worldwide who spend hours looking at their phones daily, proving a delightful and valuable experience is now more important than ever.
Designers also need to consider mobile issues that may occur, such as mobile performance issues as users continue to stay glued to their smaller screens. These issues are usually tackled after a site launches, notifying errors in Google Search Console reports for mobile usability. Even though development teams can resolve these errors, designers should implement mobile UX best practices from the start.
Mobile speed is also a huge factor in search engine optimization (SEO). This is why designers and developers must consider how everything, including imagery and animation, will affect these metrics. Here are our three tips for designing the best user experience for mobile.
Focus on spacing
Spacing elements isn’t only about making a nice visual flow; it’s all about making your site easy to use, including for visitors on mobile devices.
One of the most common usability errors in Google Search Console is “clickable elements are too close together.” This can frustrate visitors browsing through smaller devices where they’re carelessly clicking elements while navigating the site.
From a mobile UX design perspective, buttons and interactive or clickable elements must be placed far enough and large enough in the design.
On mobile, visitors use their thumbs which are typically larger than your small mouse cursor. It’s an entirely different experience from browsing on a desktop, where visitors navigate the sites with a mouse, which is a precise tool. And it can be a little clumsier as well, especially when navigating sites while walking or multitasking.
This is why designing enough space between buttons and elements is important for visitors to have a better mobile experience.
In addition, visitors use their thumbs to scroll on mobile and go through different web pages. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure they won’t click anything accidentally due to any large clickable elements in the way.
Consider font size
Besides spacing, another common error for mobile usability in the Google Search Console reports is “text is too small.” Even though developers can adjust some elements of font sizing, there are some UX best practices that designers may implement from the beginning.
Choosing an easily legible typeface is an excellent place to start. Remember that mobile users usually walk, multi-task, or are outside while using their smaller devices which are non-ideal scenarios when trying to navigate a site.
Deciding on the right font size is also crucial for creating a visual hierarchy that helps mobile users quickly scan and understand the page’s content. Using different fonts and sizes can help guide your users and help to break down the pages into different sections. It also helps on mobile devices where headline texts can wrap into the next line. You can also increase the line height between the text’s lines in the designs to boost a page’s readability.
Once you’ve decided on the font and size, you should consider the color contrast ratios. As mobile users may be indoors, outdoors or in places with poor lighting, it’s essential to follow the standards for the contrast between foreground and background colors.
Ensure animations follow the best practices
Most web designs nowadays incorporate interactive components and micro-animations, which are common requests from clients in the design process.
Adding these movements is usually the work of a collaboration between designers and developers. Animations can result in longer page load times if the page isn’t coded well. You must also plan whether these interactions will occur on mobile devices during the design process.
Due to performance problems, designers prefer to turn off complex animations and video backgrounds on mobile as they can slow down the site’s load time. This kind of alteration had become more common since 2018 when mobile page speed became one of the ranking factors in Google.
Animations should be used in delicate ways to support the user experience and shouldn’t distract the user. It also shouldn’t be a vital element to help a visitor complete an action.
Conclusion — create mobile UX that users will be comfortable with
Because of the increased focus on mobile performance, applying some of our ideas above into practice as you design your projects will save you time before launching those projects. Do you know any other tips for mobile UX design that have helped you create a better mobile experience? Let us know!