The use of mobile handheld devices has been increased at a significant rate. Lestari, Hardianto and Hidayanto (2014) showed that the worldwide customers use mobile devices as a single functional unit for obtaining information and browsing sites over the internet. The aim of the “Human Machine Interface” (User Interface) is to define the procedure the mobile user interacts with the website through the mobile devices. The mobile website interface is determined by the specific input for interacting with the mobile device and the corresponding output of the website. Developing a mobile responsive design along with its complexity have been identified as a vital challenge in mobile website design.
According to Rempel and Bridges (2013), the first impression of the website is essential for the customer for building a relationship with the brand or business. The design of the website has a significant impact on increasing the relation with the business and increasing customer satisfaction. The mobile device users expect the mobile website to be user-friendly, relevant with high performance. The restriction of the medium has created various challenges in improving the user experience through the design of the mobile website. Hussain and Mkpojiogu (2015) illustrated that the designer needs to follow various guidelines while developing the design of the mobile website in the section below.
For evaluating and understanding the principle and guidelines for developing a robust design for the mobile website, various peered reviewed journals have been studied. In addition to that, the “Google’s advice for developers” has been taken into account for understanding the importance of mobile website design.
The home page of the mobile website is used as a welcome page for the particular website. The home page provides the users with the idea of all the modules available on the website. Various websites use the home page allowing exploration menu and showcasing the content. Various mobile devices are different in size and resolution (Kim, 2013). Using the relative units for developing the pixel density and size of the canvas allows the developed website to modify itself according to the mobile device.
Since the display space in the mobile is much smaller and contact the designer should appropriately use the space for attracting customer with prominent modules. While designing the home page navigation, the designer needs to ensure that the key modulus and action button are well visible and while the secondary information is available in the dropdown or below the bar. In addition to that, the menus should be distinctly categorized for providing easy and faster navigation.
The site search option in the mobile website is one of the vital modules for website design. It helps the user in easily search for any products or services on the website. The designer needs to incorporate the search bar on the home page. In addition to that, making the search bar on the home page and all the corresponding pages allows the user in easily identify and search for the particular item (Page 2014).
In addition to that, the search menu should be accompanied by the various filters that allow the users in narrow down the search and obtaining the exact results in a more easy and quicker way.
Apart from that, the designer must ensure that the search bar is not developed with a specific width. Designing the with specific width design can limit the visibility and usability of the search bar on the mobile website.
The application of entry form in the mobile website allows the user in experience conversation and uploading personal information for subscription or purchase of products. The designer needs to introduce advanced automatic next field when the return is pressed in the form (Oat, Di Francesco, & Aura 2014). This will allow the user in using less tap or input for better performance. Apart from that, the use of drop-down list and checklist in the website form provides the users with less time for filling up the form.
The website designer should use breakpoints in the layout of the form at various predefined points. The application of the breakpoints in the mobile website will allow the modules in one single column for better visibility and application (Natda 2013). In addition to that, the breakpoint should be used based on the content of the website for allowing the user with better usability and visibility of the entire structure of the page. Moreover, application of real-time validation and labelling within the form allows the user in filling up the form accurately with ease.
The designer needs to develop allow the user to browse and view the website before signing in into their account. Elimination of the demanded registration in the mobile helps in gaining the customer satisfaction and reduce the frustration while browsing through the website (Firdaus 2013). In addition to that, the designer needs to use flow in the various modules for increasing the content visibility in the mobile device.
The applicability of the flow control over the different modules enhances the visibility of all the section available on the mobile screen. In addition to that, for the registered users of the website, the designer must ensure, that the online form available on the website uses the pre-defined information from the user profile.
For the guideline regarding the form factor and usability, the website designer needs to optimize the experience of the user with various modification in the interface. The designer should minimize the element and names of the links and button used (Oat, Di Francesco, & Aura 2014). Minimizing the names and button helps in easily identify and recognizing the elements in the mobile website. In addition to that, the designer needs to incorporate the link to the home page through the Logo of the website. This will allow the user to easily navigate to the home page directly from the current page within the website.
In addition to that, for enhancing the usability and accessibility of the mobile website, the designer needs to eliminate the pop-up menus and advertisements blocking the entire element of the website.
While designing the mobile website, the designer needs to ensure that the page in the mobile will appear in logical order. In addition to that, the designer should use bitmap image rather than vector image in spite of various advantages. Vector image is not supported by all the browsers. In addition to that, for the mobile website, the designer should eliminate the pinch-to-zoom option for better visibility and usability.
Site Navigation and Home Page
For the home page and navigation, the mobile users are impatient while browsing any website through the mobile device. Developing the menu and homepage concise and short promotes easy navigation. The application of the search menu within the mobile website helps the customer in easily navigate to the required product without many hassles (Oat, Di Francesco, & Aura 2014). The auto validation and filling up of form through clicks and drop-down helps in reducing the time and easy form fill-up through the mobile website.
In the case of the mobile devices, due to the smaller screen size, using flow control for the content will allow the designer to automatically push down the content and rearrange according to the screen size. Moreover, the use of predefined information and flow controls allows improving convenience and increases preference of the user for using the website. For the fifth guideline, the elimination of pop-up and home page redirect will promote website usability. For the sixth guideline, optimisation of the images before using them on mobile website ensures visibility of the images through all the mobile devices and browser (Hussain & Mkpojiogu 2015). Using horizontal scrolling is difficult for mobile devices, therefore, eliminating the zooming option and fixing the width of the website ensures optimized functionality.
Benefits and Advantages
The utilization and incorporation of the above stated guidelines in the design of the mobile website provide numerous advantages.
The significant advantage is increasing the flexibility of the designed website. Incorporation of flow function and dynamic characterization of the elements allows easy and flexible spreading of the elements within the mobile screen.
The above mentioned guidelines will help to enhance user experience regardless the device, operating system and browser used for opening the website. The recommended guidelines allow the users to easily browse and navigate through the different pages within the website.
The application of the guidelines will also help in increase the functionality and customer satisfaction while using the website through the mobile devices. The use of easy navigation and auto-fill up of forms assist the users in easily access the pages throughout the website.
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