Web Designers See Simpler Mobile Designs

Ariana Rodriguez
As the popularity of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices continues to soar, website designers are shifting their focus to functionality versus aesthetics.

“Technology evolves fast but always in the path of what users need,” IDSAdult.com CEO Jey P said. “Same thing with web design, I think it’s heading more and more toward simplicity and user experience, than to graphic design itself.

“Since the early years of the Internet and moreover in our industry, websites that care less about visual and more about interaction sell better, so thanks to all the new tools and technology we have nowadays the interaction with the user will be much more simple and more intuitive.”

Dickmans Design CEO Bruno Dickman said that ideally a mobile design looks like an application — more utilitarian, less gaudy eye-catching graphics.

“For mobile, you have to plan for functionality,” Dickman said. “It’s about making it easy to use. The mobile Internet isn’t that fast — so you have to keep it low on graphics.”

With some desktop websites being designed 100 percent with Flash technology, Dickman said some designers see adapting to its absence as a challenge. Additionally, another factor designers need to work around when designing for mobile is a smaller interface and the fact that users will be navigating with their fingers.

Referring to a study by Forrester Research that predicts the popularity of tablet devices to surpass notebooks, Dickman said designing for such devices will give way to greater monetization opportunities.

“Designing for the iPad [and other tablet devices] is a whole different animal,” Dickman said. “You have a lot more space and this gives you the opportunity to create something that is great for users — something that’s visually pleasing with an interface that allows for comfortable viewing.”

To keep up with the times, Dickman advises designers to focus on the end user.

“It’s all about the user experience,” Dickman said. “Users need to be able to browse your site with ease. The key message is that designers should focus on info architecture rather than graphics.”

Martin of Design4Porn.com said that new technologies, such as the recent development of jQTouch might be a cure to problematic Flash interfaces. Additionally, he said designers can correct delayed mobile Internet browsing by optimizing the server-side and database requests.

However, Martin said mobile isn’t the answer for all websites.

“I’m not worried about speed, what worries me are industry standards,” Martin said. “Take for example a website that sells airline tickets, this is just an ideal application of a website optimized for mobile devices — easy and simple to use, without heavy interface and design. Now compare it to a site that wants to stream VOD, I see many problems with video stream compatibility for different handhelds. Until platforms and standards merge to reasonable level, mobile Internet will always be very limited.”

Nevertheless, Martin said he sees the cross-browser and cross-device compatibility trend on the rise and hopes to see a merging of web standards.

“Regarding user experience I think websites might become more and more optimized for touch screens, be it a handheld or desktop PC,” Martin said. “This implies usage of new control and navigation methods.”