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The Five Worst Things You Can Do With A Mobile Website

Lots of people are getting mobile websites designed — and with nearly 30% of searches coming from mobile devices these days, it’s kind of stupid not to. But stupidity isn’t limited to the people who are avoiding getting a mobile site designed — there are plenty of pretty dumb things being done with mobile sites as well.

#5: Using Interstitial Pop-Up Advertisements
Interstitial pop-ups are pretty common on mobile sites, especially when a company wants you to get their app instead of using their site. Problem is, they’re freaking annoying. Not only that, but they can (depending on how they’re arranged) cause problems with getting your site indexed by search engines.

#4: Redirecting Mobile Users Arriving At A Deep Desktop Page to the Mobile Home Page
Many companies are guilty of this. You search for something like “Buffalo Wings nutritional information”, and you see a link that shows you what you want — but when you click on it, the company’s desktop website redirects you, uselessly, to their mobile home page, where you have to start your hunt for information all over again. That’s lame. Get all of your information mobilized, and get your redirects straight.

#3: Using a Desktop Checkout System on a Mobile Website
Mobile checkout processes should be absolutely minimal — one-touch is best, but if you have to take PayPal or something similar, don’t ask them to type anything more than is absolutely necessary (username and password, in this case.) If you absolutely have to make them fill out a form, make each item on the form it’s own mobile page, with big, easy buttons and the correct keyboard for each entry field.

#2: Cutting Out Excess Desktop Content
For a long time, ‘usability’ experts told us we should be cutting non-vital content in order to save bandwidth, and putting only the most vital functions of our desktop sites on our mobile sites. Heck, I was guilty of that at one point — but as mobile users increasingly expect more and move off of data-limited plans, it’s more important that your mobile site have the same capacities that your desktop site did — just with reworked navigation and architecture to keep the less-used stuff deeper and further out of the way.

#1: Make Layout More Important Than Content
Responsive design is awesome stuff, but it has a tendency to be used somewhat thoughtlessly. Your layout should respond to the importance of your content, not the visuals you want to present to your end user. Make sure that your mobile site focuses on putting priority content first, and being pretty second.

That’s that — if you think I’ve missed anything or would like to take issue with anything here, feel free to say so in the comments.

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