Desktop and mobile web apps, while both web-based, need to be entirely different in user interface. Desktop web pages are designed for mouse clicking and big screens. On the other hand, web apps are designed for clumsy fingers and very tiny screens.
Here are 3 major things to think about when designing a web app. While they might sound obvious, you’d be surprised at how many businesses fail to develop with them in mind:
- Finger navigation: When using a web app you aren’t using a mouse for distinct clicking. Therefore, your web app needs to have large clickable targets. If there are small precise buttons it will be very frustrating for the end-users to try and navigate through.
- Page Layout: Computer monitors are very large, and a desktop web page has a specific lay out that stretches across the screen. This layout cannot carry over to a mobile web app for an obvious reason – the screen is a totally different shape and size on a smartphone. Because of this, developers need to think of the page layout in a different way (adjusting font size, photos, side bars, text blocks, etc.).
- Mobile Page URL: The mobile page URL is different and usually looks like “m.example.com”. Desktop and web apps are different animals, from the interface and design to the URL itself.
In a post from last week “No Web App, No Customers”, an author from Entrepreneur.com decided against visiting a local restaurant because the web app did not encompass these 3 three things. Without a quality web app, businesses are essentially turning away customers. After developing a web app that encompasses these best practices, the best way to go back and verify the UI’s ease of use and quality is through usability testing prior to launch.
What is your favorite web app and why? Let us know in the comments section.