Website Optimization for Mobile Devices and Browsers

4 min read

Summary: The task of website optimization for mobile devices has drawn countless reviews and given life to innumerable guides. Still, all these articles are far from exhaustive, as digital product adaptation for various mobile devices and browsers always poses new challenges. Our publication overviews best practices for mobile-first adaptation fortified by our experience as a software development agency.  It also provides a unique checklist for cross-browser testing of design and layout.

Building a responsive design through best-recommended practices creates a high-quality, impactful website where your audience feels at home. Let’s start with discussing the cross-browser adaptation. 

Cross-browser compatibility

We already know that any website is displayed differently on different devices. We call it a responsive design if it adapts to different screen resolutions. Websites “act” differently in browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Edge, Vivaldi, and Opera. These browsers may render the same elements on the page differently. 

The main difference between browsers is the engines, the heart of any browser. The engine is the code that renders the pages, determines the loading character, animates the elements, and defines the standard styles for the elements. Usually, modern browsers display functional elements in their way: a date picker, password entry, and so on.

Not all elements change drastically and interfere with the display of blocks around. Most differences are not critical as long as functionality and dimensions remain intact. Our task as developers is to keep the website performance the same in different browsers or at least keep it very similar. The tester’s task is to check how the website performs in different browsers. This is an essential cue in website optimization for mobile devices.

CSS language 

To enable the correct display of the website in different browsers, we consider the following:

  • Standard styles of different browsers 
  • Functionality in different browsers.

The CSS stylesheet language powers both properties. This includes the font, sizes, colors, and location. To set up an efficient website optimization for mobile devices, we can bring all elements to a unified style, both manually and with the help of ready-made CSS styles. 

Website optimization for mobile devices: Checking cross-browser compatibility 

To check how pages of your website are rendered in browsers, you do not need to download all known browsers and their latest versions. It is enough to ensure support by the most popular browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. These browsers run on three different engines: Safari uses WebKit, Google Chrome runs on Blink, and Firefox is based on Gecko. These engines are standard, and almost all browsers run on them, for example, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome run on the Blink engine, and Gnome Web uses the WebKit engine. 

Pay attention to the following elements of the website optimization for mobile devices:

  • Design. Page elements should not disappear or alter their width unless the design idea does not require it.
  • Functionality. All interactive elements should work adequately in different browsers: buttons can be pressed, menus can be opened, and form fields must process the text input. 

How to test cross-browser compatibility

1. Use your device or a test device. Install the most popular browsers on your device and check their operation.

2. Use assisting services like BrowserStack.

3. Remember about virtual machines. The advantage of this method is that you have complete control over the website environment.

We prepared unique website optimization for mobile device checklists for our blog readers.

Testing General Properties Checklist for Different Browsers

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Website Optimization for Mobile Devices and Browsers

A mobile adaptation of the website 

We’ve collected the following best design practices for website optimization for mobile devices that we recommend considering:

Website Optimization for Mobile Devices and Browsers

1. Ensure consistency of content on desktop and mobile versions

The idea of this rule is to avoid having duplicate content. To be on the safe side, always ensure that all content is the same on both desktop and mobile versions of the website

Responsive design is one of the best approaches to website optimization for mobile devices that help you build consistent content. Responsive design implies having a different design style for every major platform and device. If you want to enhance your development speed and keep your design simple, consider using CSS sprites and reduce server-side requests. 

2. The first screen should not disappear completely

The mobile environment is the space where all elements are infinitely scrolling down. Hence, the top of the first screen should not disappear completely. It is preferable to have at least some piece of text above the page end to show the user there is a reason to scroll further. The psychological benefits and the desire to see what you offer down the page have not entirely disappeared, so you still have to consider this while doing website optimization for mobile devices.

3. Use a top-down approach 

A top-down approach means considering all potential outcomes of every design decision you make from start to finish. Your task is to design a mobile-first website rather than a desktop. The overarching advantage of this development approach is that the final design remains intact. 

For example:

  • you’re building a desktop site. After going about ¾ of the way, you also create a mobile site. 
  • So, the mobile design layout appears. But at some point, you discover an error. Another error follows it in a new place. This is because the bottom-up approach does not work and leads to unnecessary iterations. 

The “bottom-up” approach to website optimization for mobile devices leads to unexpected errors and extra workload to fix them. If you had kept up with the top-down approach to mobile-first design from the start, the bugs that needed fixing wouldn’t have surfaced at the end. 

4. Don’t solely focus on the mobile device user

As mobile and desktop landscapes merge, the goals and desires of users of these platforms follow this change. A holistic approach to website optimization for mobile devices means focusing on what the user wants on every platform. This way, you’ll be able to engage customers through your site more effectively.

Whether the user comes to your website to buy a product or check it out, there is ample space where the user’s objectives and business goals to acquire more customers overlap. 

5. Use responsive design techniques 

Gone are the days of standalone sites. In the mobile-first era, responsive design is the ideal digital project implementation. Such designs use so-called media queries to determine the screen resolution supported by the design. Each resolution represents a “breaking point” in the design or the point at which responsive design transitions from one resolution to another. 

The benefit of this structure is that it sets you free from the content duplication issues that can come with a subdomain. In addition, your mobile implementation will employ the latest technologies. 

6. Set up CMS for mobile devices 

Every Content Management System (CMS) is ready to offer many plugins. Some of them provide the functionality to improve mobile compatibility. For example, the popular CMS WordPress has such valuable plugins as W3 Total Cache, Duda Mobile, and plugins for minifying HTML and CSS. 

7. Don’t use intrusive banners to sell your product 

Yes. We know. Your product is the greatest, most fantastic thing on this planet. That is why we probably visit the website and check it out before buying. But there is no need for intrusive ads that interfere with their activity on your site to force a sale. We suggest keeping the number of intrusive banners to a minimum and placing ads at the bottom or side parts, ensuring the possibility of hiding them with one click. Google doesn’t welcome intrusive banners. Check their developer and webmaster guidelines about banners. 

Bottom line

Mobile adaptivity and responsive design ensure that websites or web applications are user-friendly and visually appealing across various devices and screen sizes, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

You can check out the example of our adaptive design work for mobile versions in the “Portfolio” section.

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Website Optimization for Mobile Devices and Browsers

Summary: The task of website optimization for mobile devices has drawn countless reviews and given life to innumerable guides. Still, all these articles…

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