development wireframeAs the internet has matured and become a mainstream business tool, so have modern web design standards. Today’s websites are designed to be user-focused, and equally usable on any device – desktop, tablet, or cell phone. These objectives have made web design less focused on graphic design, and more on effective content delivery.

Here are a few design elements in modern, mobile-friendly websites:

Mobile-first design
With desktop and mobile devices having such different capabilities, there are times when it is impossible to optimize a design for both at the same time. Today designers are leaning toward “mobile-first” designs, sacrificing desktop optimization in favor of creating a better mobile experience.

Streamlined layouts
Modern designs have less complicated graphics, more white space, simpler layouts. Besides being cleaner looking (think Apple), they also load faster on bandwidth limited devices like cell phones.

Responsive layouts
Rather than building separate layouts for desktop and mobile views, modern sites use “responsive” designs that automatically resize and rearrange the content layout based on the size of the browser.

Large, responsive images
Since designs need to look good on tiny screens, many designers are moving toward fewer, but larger images. Full screen width images are becoming common, with the site automatically resizing the image to match the browser size.

Less text, bigger text
Again, as designers work to make sites usable on mobile devices, they push text sizes up and generally reduce the total volume of text on sites. Also, buttons are bigger and menus are tighter.

More meat, less fluff
Traditional desktop designs with three column layouts have lots of room for non-critical graphics, mission statements, and feel good photography. Mobile layouts are almost always one column with all content is stacked by priority. Feel-good stuff doesn’t make it in the design any more, every element is important.

The rapid growth of mobile internet usage has radically affected modern website design. Rather than being design fads that come and go, these new standard are functional, and important to making your website most usable to mobile users.

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