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If it’s enough for one, is it enough for everyone?

One topic causing ripples in website design at the moment is responsive text, which is the concept of delivering different content to different devices. This would mean, for example, that you might be presented with less text on a mobile phone than you would be on a desktop PC – but just by hiding it, rather than having a separately thought-out “mobile site”. This is all part of the development of the web, and as ripples never come back, we can leave this to the designers. What we can take away from the debate is this: if a certain amount of information is “enough” for people looking at your website on a small screen, then might it also be enough for everyone?

There aren’t many websites where the content has been pared back to just what’s necessary, although great promotion-specific landing pages show us the way in this respect. They ruthlessly eliminate the clutter. Business websites are the worst of all, as if it’s a sign of weakness not to have dozens of menu options all around the real content. Those companies which design separate mobile websites are forced to drop all the unnecessary “page furniture”, and the site is all the better for it – not just for the user, but for the efficiency and conversion rate too. I imagine that a number of them have learned something from designing a mobile website which can be applied back to their conventional one.

Open up a random page from your website, and look at each link and menu item surrounding the main content. Then ask yourself this: “Are there any conceivable circumstances where somebody would want to go straight from this page to that particular link?” If you designed a version of your site for mobile phones, you’d get rid of a lot of what you see. So does it need to be there for desktop users?

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