The User Experience: Five Things to Consider When Designing for the Mobile Web

Earlier this week at Movéo, we had a Lunch and Learn session where we explored the user experience and its design implications for mobile applications. We’ve seen an increasing number of our clients express interest in optimizing their sites for the mobile web lately, and for good reason. Mobile browsing has shown explosive growth in the last few years thanks to devices like iPads, iPhones and Android powered smartphones. In 2014, mobile browsing is expected to outpace desktop browsing, and right now, there are six billion active mobile subscriptions. That’s the equivalent of 87 percent of the world’s population.

If your target customer is like the majority of the population, they are browsing the mobile web. To make their experience a positive one, your site needs to be optimized for the mobile web.

Are you wondering where to start when optimizing your site for mobile? Here are five key things to think about:

  • Your mobile site should not be a copy of your desktop website. For it to function well on a mobile device, it needs to be designed specifically for the context in which mobile is used. On the go. This means optimizing content into “bite-size” chunks for quick and easy consumption.
  • Mobile sites are about tasks. Most users visiting mobile sites are not there just to browse. They are there to complete specific tasks. Identify and limit content to those core tasks but always include a link to the full site.
  • Touchscreens replace keyboards and a mouse. The same functionality that works on a desktop doesn’t necessarily translate over to a mobile device. Things like hover and rollover states, small links that are difficult to click, and long forms should be done away with on a mobile site.
  • People have shorter attention spans and less patience. Content should be optimized for brevity, and information should be easy to find. For starters, this means using straightforward navigation and making the search bar prominent on the site.
  • Data can help. Unsure about what content deserves a spot on your mobile site? Look at analytics data about how people are using your current site on mobile devices. The pages most visited on mobile devices likely deserve a prominent spot on your mobile site.

While we’re on the topic, here are a few of our favorite mobile sites and the reasons we love them.

Are you optimizing your own site for mobile? What challenges have you faced, and what have you learned?


The people behind Airbnb realized that, while people looking for accommodations were likely to use their mobile site, people interested in renting out their own homes for travelers (a much more involved process) were not. They optimized their site accordingly and created a user experience focused on the core tasks associated with finding a place to rent.


We love how Etsy changed the treatment of their images (a key component of the site) and product information to a more concise format while retaining the integrity of the design. The use of large graphic icons allow for a compact yet intuitive navigation menu.

NK Interactivo

NK Interactivo makes nice use of the vertical scroll layout and keeps things fresh with simple yet powerful graphics. We also like the prominent “view full site” button

Observe other great examples of mobile optimized sites at

Are you optimizing your own site for mobile? What challenges have you faced, and what have you learned?

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