3 Things to Keep in Mind When Designing for Touch-Friendly Devices
More than 70% of the world’s population is now connected to a mobile network. In 2011 alone, traffic to law firm websites from mobile devices increased by 152%, and according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth by the end of 2012. With figures like these, it’s important for firms to start thinking about how to improve the user experience for those visitors who use their fingers to navigate the firm’s site.
Here are some things to keep in mind when attempting to make your firm’s site more touch-friendly:
A touch device has no mouse
Touch devices rely on the click, drag or swipe gestures to initiate actions. This means any “hover” or “rollover” functionality will not work on an iPad or other touch device as it does on your desktop. Make sure your drop-downs and menus allow touch-device users to get to the same information. Using click-to-view menus or accordion drop-downs that require a click action to reveal more information can help ensure that your site is more touch friendly.
Bigger is better
Not all fingers are created equal. It’s important to incorporate large buttons and ample spacing into the design of your site. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on the wrong link because the buttons are too small for your fingers.
Typography is also better when it is bigger. You have to keep in mind that the screen size of those visiting your site using touch-friendly devices varies greatly and can be very small when compared to your average desktop. Keep the font at a size that would be legible on smaller touch-devices, such as mobile phones.
Scrolling is fun – keep it that way
Traditional pagination controls are outdated and often hard to navigate on touch devices, especially when the links appear as small numbers. Instead of forcing your touch-friendly visitors to click through multiple pages of content, allow them to scroll through your content. Scrolling is fun on a touch device!
However, it’s important to note that scrolling should remain a fun activity for your site visitors. You don’t want your visitors scrolling because they can’t find your menus or something interesting to click on once they’ve finished reading about an attorney or practice area. Using a technique such as persistent navigation, or navigation that remains anchored to the top or side of a device, prevents visitors from having to scroll around aimlessly to try to find the next place to go. Another great way to invite your visitors to remain involved is to include a universal footer sitemap. This can help prevent visitors from feeling like they’ve hit a dead end and can function as a feature sandbox for multiple tools and navigation.