New Browsers Should Be Considered
Unlike old school web design when your greatest concern was designing your page “above the fold,” you have to consider the many aspects of the latest browsers being used to view your site. Handheld devices have started to dictate how a website should look on offer fast growing technology, such as tablets. There are many aspects of web design affected by these new browsers. Paying attention to these details will make your website more appealing to the growing masses viewing from tablets and mobile browsers.
Considering the New Way Pages Are Viewed
You first saw a rise in the size of computer monitors as people’s use of their computers changed. From a basic working interface for typing, emailing and preparing spreadsheets, the introduction of design software in hand with the more sophisticated aspects of gaming options increased the need for a larger viewing screen. The introduction of smart phones, iPads and tablets has forced the opposite to be true, leading to smaller screen sizes becoming a force to be reckoned with in website design. Aiming for 1024 px will help with the adjustments.
The second consideration is not only how pages are viewed, but that the screen is no longer just for viewing. Touch screens are also adding to the reconsideration of design requirements as users have to be able to use accuracy when using their finger as opposed to a mouse. This means perhaps even greater design challenges as larger proportions required to accommodate the finger do not necessarily translate into a better view for the eye. Opt for the mid-size in your design that can accommodate the finger, without offending the eye.
Above the Fold
This brings us back to the whole term “above the fold”. There were key horizontal lines used for professional website design that kept all the important information visible without the need to scroll. Anything below 600 pixels would be used for less important information, ads and links. With new browsers being used, the fold perhaps no longer has a real place in design. Instead a logical prioritization using a more hierarchical approach will help keep your design “safe” for more browsers.
Adjusting Your Vision
Built in accelerometers are allowing users to view in either portrait or landscape, making it even harder to decide which route to take. This means you need to test your design to make sure you are not losing any key information when a user is viewing in portrait mode. You don’t want your user to have to swipe to find important information. If you don’t have an iPad, consider using Xcode on your Mac to test your design for iPad viewing.
This leaves you with a few easy to follow adaptations to make when designing your site: Design for the finger and the mouse, consider screen orientation to avoid the need to swipe and use a hierarchical approach to your design to keep the best content at the top for any browser to see.