Web Usability Best Practices Across Devices
As more and more users are accessing the web with their touchscreen smartphones, mobile web development keeps growing every day. According to the usability guru Jakob Nielsen, there are several best practices in maintaining quality user experience and usability throughout the various devices used:
Creating distinct user interface designs.
There are many factors that affect the usability of a certain web page while using a specific device. Primarily, there are the three layers of user experience, as identified on UXmatters.com:
- Mobile Website/App design.
It is therefore the goal of the designer to utilize the best features of each layer in the most effective combination.
Maintaining visual continuity.
Despite the aforementioned distinctions in design, each “version” of the mobile site has to convey the same key familiar visual cues. This goes beyond the logo and color scheme – ideally, the interactive elements should also have a consistent appearance.
Maintaining feature continuity.
With smaller devices come certain limitations on what functionality can be kept, from a full site. Thus, it is crucial to identify the key reasons why a user would visit the site or run the app – these features are a must, others may be partially taken out.
Maintaining data continuity.
If a website handles user accounts and stores users’ data – it is natural to provide access to that data on all devices. This data becomes personal – a Facebook profile is a familiar “place”, and when a user is accessing it through an app, they expect it to be the same “place” as it is on the full website, without any “syncing”.
Maintaining Content Continuity
Along with the look and feel of the product, the readable content also needs to be kept consistent. Of course the amount of text that can be efficiently displayed and read varies on different devices. The style and the tone of it, however, must be uniform across those devices.