Can you design a website that works well on both mobile and desktop and should you even try?
One of the things I didn’t anticipate when I started working for myself is how much time I would have to spend on website design and maintenance.
I decided to do my own website and after some research picked square space as the company to do it through. They make the basic approach to web design simple and intuitive by providing ‘templates’ for various websites from design to commerce and so on. If you want to do the least work you can pick a template, change their stock images for yours, revise the text and there you go.
However if you want to tailor your website design from the standard there is a lot you can’t do - you need to stay within the rules which can be frustrating if you’re also a designer but overall its a good system.
It took me a while to get a template that worked for my website design - my initial idea was to have a big “splash page” which one key image then links to the portfolio but after a few months changed that to a video of me working then changed it again to make it so my website was just the portfolio. You went there, my images were in a list, there were some simple contact details and nothing else.
I did it this way so casual browsers could see what I did fast, no need to mooch around wasting valuable time reading and thinking :)
This site was optimized for mobile, the images being small with text a standard web font. I designed it to load as fast as possible but found that on a desktop screen the images were pixelated and did not look their best but, hey, we’re living in a mobile world right?
Thing is it turned out that I average 69% of web traffic from macOS and Windows 7/10 and only 20% from iOS / Android (my blog is almost exactly the opposite which makes me think people read that when they’re on the move, subway etc, and look at my work when they are sat at their desk job)
So I decided to redesign both my blog and main website in opposite ways. My blog more mobile friendly and my main site more desktop friendly. This proved far harder than I anticipated though, it seems there really isn't one size fits all in web design there days, no one standard template that lets you look good on every different device size.
My work is graphic heavy - illustrations and photography - so I picked a template that displays them in the best way I could find, full screen images with minimal text and indexes. This challenges the smaller screen of a smart phone and in an ideal world I would run two designs, one for mobile and one for the desktop but I’m not a web developer so made the call. (yes Square Space templates work for both but I haven't found one that displays large images well on desktop and mobile devices simultaneously - if you find one let me know!). Conversely the template for my blog now works on a series of small tiles that link to the article, not the long list as before.
Took a while to make the change but think it was a worthwhile investment of time - the switch took 7 full days to complete. Take a look ay www.jimkeen.com and let me know what you think!