Desktop Vs Mobile Design Differences

It is no gainsaying that the experience of browsing through a website on a desktop is very much different from the experience when browsing the website on a mobile device. The notable differences include the different screen orientations, navigating with our thumbs instead of a mouse and a lot more cumbersome tasks. This is why it’s important for web designers to ensure the needs of mobile users are met when designing a website. The following are 3 key features of website design that have to be distinct when viewing on desktop vs. mobile device;

 

Website Desktop View
Website Mobile View

Apparel retailer, Uniqlo, rearranges content from horizontal alignment to vertical when viewing on a mobile device.

1. Organisation of content

When designing a website, the needs of mobile users must be accommodated. The website must be dynamic enough for mobile users in the way the website content is organised, depending on the device they are browsing with. The website content should be able to fit the narrow widths of mobile devices by stacking vertically and when viewed on a desktop, the content (and multiple images) should be able to stretch across the screen comfortably, accommodating the landscape orientations of desktop devices. Websites can also be viewed in the orientation of mobile devices but the vertical screens of mobile devices do not allow horizontal space, making viewing of content difficult and tedious. This is why professional website designs dynamically rearrange the website content from horizontal to vertical alignment when viewing them on a mobile device. This act of dynamic web design is very important today because a fully operational website for mobile users is the easiest way to reach out to a huge number of potential customers as the mobile device is the primary or only source of information for many people across the world today.

 

Website Desktop View
Website Mobile View

Singapore Airlines allows users to book a class on desktop or mobile. Content layout is vertically-aligned in the mobile version.

2. Forms

For online marketers, a badly designed form is automatically a conversion-killer. Of course, the same goes for the mobile devices. Forms should be designed specifically for mobile users so as to make it easy for them to fill out. The viewing orientation of a form in desktop makes it difficult for mobile users to navigate horizontally when trying to complete filling a form. To make things easy for mobile users, ensure the website is designed in a way in which the form fields are aligned vertically. You can also help your users with the form fills by providing predictive texts and also ensuring you minimise unnecessary fields.

 

Mobile Form

Singapore Airlines offers predictive text for the origin and destination of a user’s flight search.

3. Menus Formatting

Formatting menus in web design is certainly one key area that shows a distinct viewing on desktop and a mobile device. With a desktop, it is normal to have menus or mega-menus with several categories and/or sub-categories. This type of setup display usually works perfect for desktop users with larger screens as they will be able to read the text in those menus, scroll back and forth as well as easily click on menu and text links. For mobile website, this is entirely different as the screens are smaller which makes it not so easy to navigate on the menus. For this reason, it is necessary the website menus for mobile devices are designed with huge focus on these things. This formatting aspect of mobile website design helps arrange the menus or mega-menus on a single-level vertical alignment with different tons of categories to choose from and allowing readable larger text or buttons too.

Desktop Menu
Mobile Menu

E-commerce platform Lazada, changes the format of its menu when viewed from mobile devices.

In conclusion, this is not a comprehensive list of the features of a mobile website that ought to be distinct from a desktop but these three are the most important.

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