It is a mobile world- and no one can deny it. The mobile platform promises to be the long-standing mainstay across all industries. According to Google, more than 1 billion people prefer to use mobile devices to access internet. Browsing World Wide Web is no longer confined to desktops anymore. Even the audiences for instance, would prefer to read this blog post from their mobile device. Therefore, the rapidly evolving technology demands a radical shift of web designer in the world of mobile to stay on top of the game. But the question lies how and what would be its future impact.
The phrase “above the fold” as was implied in the print media earlier was gradually transformed to the field of web design. The appealing headlines and striking imagery were often displayed to catch the attention of the readers. Similar is the concept embraced by the web designing community. The area above the fold was the top segment of a web design to help users see immediately without scrolling. However, trying dogmatically to place the content above the fold is no longer a tactic to chain down designs. But why?
The designer realised that there can be a better browsing experience if there is little to distract the users from the website.
What we see now is the transition from mouse-centric interfaces towards app-centric interfaces. What does this mean?
The great advantage with this is that everything can be accessed everywhere with little worry about the performance and with minimum loss of work. The conventional ‘screen’ of viewing web has undergone an explosion of variety. We no longer expect the 19” monitor with a standard resolution to be the sole source of browsing the internet. Here lies the change- the change of the traditional screen to various shapes and sizes ranging from iPad, iPhone, Smartphone and even 60” HDTVs. However, it is not just the resolution of the screen, but every aspect ratio of the screen can be easily altered with a flick of the wrist. This transition has vastly changed the concept of the ‘above the fold’. The websites are now trying their best to be optimised for mobile devices.
With many more years to come, there will be even more changes to the screen environment. Therefore, the sensible approach is to design for both the mouse-centric as well as app-centric interfaces. Such an approach will take nothing away from the traditional design but would have an additional bonus for the ones using tablets and mobile devices. The key here is to keep the core messages within a safe zone and simultaneously maintain the overall quality of design. The best strategies to make design adapt to a wide range of screen will be the ones that have a sense of hierarchy across the whole design.
As the core designing principle of layout, typography, and color theory also plays an important role in this transition, therefore, it has offered the designers not only to retain their designing principles but also to leave behind the rigid and dogmatic notion of designing theories.
So here lies the demand for app designing and it has clearly drawn the line of difference with web designing. Let us find out the core difference-
Mouse vs. finger
A mouse is used to point any object on the website whereas the functionalities and features of mobile website should be favourable to human gestures. Mobile users tap to open a site, swipe through to read the content and make various gestures to navigate pages. Therefore, the app designer needs to avoid text based hyperlinks and pay attention on portable widgets and large navigation buttons. However, this is where the web designer can make use of maximum freedom to carry out their tasks.
For an app designer, they have to consider the size of the web pages to make it look good as a mobile web page and eliminate anything that is not necessary. They have to integrate large font size, foldup content and widgets that can be expanded when clicked. A web designer does not have to think much about this aspect. They have the liberty to incorporate everything varying from maximum important to least important elements to create a web page.
Web designers can use high resolution images and which are of large sizes to fit an image perfectly in a web page. However, an app designer cannot afford to waste screen space and size by using images. Even, in certain situation where images are essential, they have to avoid the use of high resolution images and keep their size marginal.
Even with limitations, apps reach audience’s pocket much faster. Mobile website helps one to grab the world’s information in the palm of their hand within a fraction of a second- be it in the comfort of the couch or at the kitchen tables. So why not go mobile everywhere?
However, with this major shift in the technology industry, web designers are encouraged to consider the mobile platform and master mobile design. This growing demand will ultimately help them in the long run to better their craft intelligently.