Structuring Information for Mobile Users

Association of Strategic Marketing
September 9, 2013 — 1,252 views  
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Navigation on Mobile Devices

One of the main problems faced by mobile device users is the fact that navigation can feel cumbersome. Having to constantly go back to a table of contents, for example, can be especially frustrating. The right solution to this varies based on the nature of the content on the website, but listed below are a few common solutions.

One possibility is to place the table of contents above or below the main content. This solution allows easier navigation, but it will take up a significant amount of screen space. In addition, it often fails when a website has a large table of contents. For websites that have only a few sections, however, the solution can work admirably.

Another possibility is to allow users to swipe left or right to see the table of contents. For many websites, this is the optimal solution, but users must be told beforehand how to reach the table of contents. Having a sidebar that instructs users to swipe may work, but there should be alternative ways of accessing the table of contents in case they forget or have trouble.

If possible, it might be best to keep everything on a single page. Sections of the page can be made to be collapsible, which can make it easy to load and close different areas. Wikipedia uses this model, so many users will have at least some familiarity with it. If possible, this solution might be best for most websites.

Logging in and out

On desktops and laptops, logging into an account is fairly straightforward; on mobile devices, the task of entering a user account and a password can be cumbersome. If possible, mobile website should allow other means of logging in. Using a third-party authentication system may be best on these devices. Android users generally have a Google account, which can be used to log in. iPhone users, on the other hand, may not. Still, there are ways to use accounts from either Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook or other popular services.

In addition, mobile browser developers are implementing functionality with a number of account verification services. Many also allow users to save their passwords, so the task of logging in may not be as cumbersome as it previously was. Still, most experts believe that third-party authentication services will become standard in the future.

Association of Strategic Marketing