As mobile connectivity continues to grow in popularity and responsive design becomes nearly universal, forward thinking site owners are seeking ways to stand out from the crowd on much smaller screens than when desktops were dominant. Google’s recent “Mobilegeddon” update is also making time important, as non-responsive and non-mobile-optimized designs are now losing organic traffic from mobile and desktop search results alike according to Google.
“Since the latest Google Mobilegeddon, we have very busy transforming non-responsive websites to be fully responsive, so that our clients don’t get “hurt” with their rankings in the SEs,” award-winning designer Sarah of ZuzanaDesigns.com told XBIZ. “We normally pass all our mobile friendly sites through Google’s Mobile tester to ensure our designs get the maximum points possible, by making sure each page is fully optimized to be displayed properly on all mobile devices.”
Continuous developments surround the mobile corner under our roof but it’s all driven by one goal, to provide our users with the same top-notch quality experience across all their devices whether they use their desktop, mobile, tablet or Smart TV. -Douglas Richter, CamsPower.com
In some segments of the adult market, like live streaming cams sites with many models and browsing options, compressing the interface for mobile can be quite a challenge.
“Continuous developments surround the mobile corner under our roof but it’s all driven by one goal, to provide our users with the same top-notch quality experience across all their devices whether they use their desktop, mobile, tablet or Smart TV,” Douglas Richter of CamsPower.com told XBIZ. “The Google Mobilegeddon explosion was something necessary, and I think it makes a serious impact on most industry participants, it also motivates us to make moves towards an even more-enhanced user experience.”
Other areas of the adult market, like dating, have been mobile focused for years because the technology of an always-on mobile device goes hand in hand with the expectations of consumers.
“Google’s changes haven’t directly impacted any usability decisions,” Simon of FriendFinder Networks told XBIZ. “We have already made a serious commitment to an improved mobile experience for our users, and we’ll continue to evolve our experiences to better compliment that platforms our users choose.
It’s also worth noting that mobile optimization needs to be done differently for the variety of devices available, and that each vertical has its own niche favorites. For example, according to Richter of CamsPower.com, “Tablets are proven to be the player nowadays on the cams field, for several reasons, and figures tell us a lot. Provided with decent screen size for reading, chat, streaming movies or live content I think it’s really the future tool for personal streaming. So it indeed is a HUGE yes for tablets from us, plus there will be some special functions we’re planning to do only for tablet users in the future.”
Zuzana Designs agreed, pointing out that “tablet views are different from smaller mobile phones. Our projects normally are done in five different views: desktop, tablet portrait/landscape and mobile portrait/landscape. This avoids all of the horizontal scrolling and pinching” which putting convenience front and center for any customer regardless of what device they choose to use while viewing content.
When some read about design, they expect to hear a lot about chasing certain trends and trying to keep a fresh modern look. However, with something like mobile where fads come and go so quickly, focusing on core characteristics often makes more sense.
“While we pay attention to the trends in mobile design, we’re very mindful that few become staples of the design approach to mobile,” said Simon of AdultFriendFinder. “For that reason we tend to rely upon the fundamentals of a focused, lightweight mobile experience.”
One trend that has become undeniable is the notion of thinking mobile first, which was a common expression among all of the designers we spoke with for this report.
“Nowadays, we do like to think “mobile first,’” Sarah of Zuzana Designs agreed. “When we design each site, we think ‘How is this going to behave on a mobile device?’ Our approach is aimed at guaranteeing the design elements needed on any project won’t be compromised on mobile devices. We encourage each client to get their site coded to be responsive, as this should really be the mindset for any client looking to start a site or refresh their existing designs.”
There are also some major cue givers including Apple and Facebook who have invested heavily in certain design concepts, and now that they are becoming industry standards, smart companies are adopting them to fit in line with user expectations.
“Flat design is absolutely what we aim for and follow,” according to Richter. “It keeps the sites simple and easy to understand for most users. It took a while to see that mobile screens are reasonably different, not only in size and functionality, but also in usability as well. The navigation affects the design of mobile and desktop too, and vice-versa. I am very happy to see flat designs getting more popular on desktop now too.”
It’s easy to see which sites and companies are investing in their mobile design presentation, and the ones who are will always be proud of their own site display, but often a more telling piece of information is finding out what sites other than their own someone looks to as an impressive example of modern content visualization.
“Adobe.com is hugely impressive” in the eyes of Simon from FriendFinder Networks. “Adobe has managed to cram a significant quantity of their full site into a responsive experience that doesn’t feel cluttered. Buzzfeed’s mobile site design is another personal favorite. Clearly focused on reading and sharing articles on the go, Buzzfeed’s users can quickly see what’s trending or jump into specific categories with ease.”
Richter of CamsPower.com named two sites that have turned apps into some of most iconoclastic items on Earth.
“Many of us are doing a great job across the adult industry, some guys are really impressive, but we also keep close eyes on the best applications from the App Store and Google Play. In practice the mobile version should work exactly like an app. Especially, due to these stores’ restrictions, we must apply best practices on the web, ensuring the same user experience and usability,” he said.
Within adult specifically, Sarah of Zuzana Designs felt that she especially likes “How CocksureMen, Yanks and Rabbits Reviews came out.”
“Over the last few years, mobile technology has progressed significantly,” Simon of FriendFinder said. “Most of the initial progress has been centered on access to the data and the device awareness of where you are at any moment. More recently wearables and other sensors are providing new opportunities for a more immersive and personal experience. I think it’s fair to say that the mobile experiences we have two to three years from now will be significantly different from those we currently have.”
So, while it is crucial to catch up to the present if you are still behind the times, companies should also be looking toward the future as the word ‘mobile’ becomes even more strained with VR, holographic display, haptic items, Wearables and so many other technologies placing new demands on designers seeking to look great to each user, no matter when or where or on what device they happen to be enjoying your content.