While designing mobile layouts is very similar to web/desktop, it still has plenty of its own unique challenges. Having done more than a few, I wanted to share what is front and center in my mind when laying one out.
Understand your content and how’s it being read
Content should always be easy to view, but does it need some extra thought or care to accomplish the goal. The content for a design that is being viewed on the go (ie. map/directions) should probably be quicker to digest than a news article.
Don’t force your viewers to adapt — adapt your design for them
It’s all about the best user experience possible, right? This will keep them coming back and spreading the word. Think through all the details. Is this easy to read? Does it still flow well from one orientation to the other? Is it still attractive and engaging? Are the buttons/links big enough to hit with your fingers?
Roll with the punches
If you’re not the developer building it (which I’m not), be prepared to improvise a little. There’s been a handful of times where I had the design one way and once it started getting built, for one reason or another, was not possible. So, the developer and I rolled with the punches and figured out the next best option. Staying true the overall design, but taking a slightly different path. For a designer, trust me I know, this is not always easy to swallow. But if you go into it knowing this might happen, it’s a lot easier to get through.
Really think about the menu/navigation
A lot of times this element gets pushed to the side. I’ve been guilty of this. Look at it from a design standpoint AND functionality standpoint. I’ve gone through and made it look nice and pretty, but didn’t totally understand what I could and couldn’t do functionality wise. This is where “rolling with the punches” came into play. Sit down with your developer, or put on your developer hat, and think/talk it through. Chances are you might come up with something even better, and much more efficient.
Figure out what is needed and what isn’t
This goes for content and design. If you’re coming from an existing design and content, you need to stay faithful to that. But you also don’t want to have too much going on. Simplify down to keep things quick and clear, but also keep the brand intact.
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