Mobile VS Desktop: Key Differences to Notice in UI Design

The way people browse websites is ever-changing, with more and more people becoming dependent on smartphones to browse websites, foregoing the laptop or desktop system. For these people who browse the web from their mobile gadgets, an old website designed for the desktop will no longer be compatible. In fact, Google recently made changes in its algorithm to penalise websites that aren’t compatible with mobile devices to promote mobile-ready websites. The trend from desktop to mobile computing is not going to slow down, if anything, the trend of shifting towards mobiles has escalated.

The process and experience of browsing a website on a mobile device is completely different from clicking through a webpage on a desktop, so your content has to be organised correspondingly. Are you doing everything to ensure it is effortless for your clients to understand your products and services, no matter what type of gadget they use? Consider the factors we are mentioning here which separate mobile websites from desktop websites.

Content Organisation

How content is organised is a crucial difference between mobile and desktop websites. The size and orientation of desktop screens help you to spread your content across the website and arrange more than one message or image on a single screen space without cluttering your design or complicating your communication. Content navigation can extend horizontally across the page for smooth clicking.

Designing for mobile gadgets means breaking up conventions; opting for a portrait layout. The small screen portends that users move up and down for data, and the space constraints reduce the number of images and text you can use in a given space of the page. Horizontal navigation is not compatible with mobile users and should be ousted with a vertical format.


Menu formatting is a major aspect of the difference between desktop and mobile. On the desktop, it is familiar to have detailed menus with a lot of categories and sub-categories. This kind of system works fine for desktop users who have big screens, where they can see the text clearly and can smoothly click on text links. It is completely different when we compare this to a mobile gadget where the screens are small and thumbs are large.

Menus on mobile devices should be designed with these facts in mind. That implies single-level menus with bigger text and/or buttons, as well as vertical arrangements for menus with multiple options.

On mobile gadgets, menus collapse and then open as a user narrows in on a category. This is by no means an all-inclusive list of all the features of a mobile website’s differentiation from the desktop version. You should always be keen to consider the requirements of your mobile user as well as how they browse and grasp information.


Anybody who has ever attempted to fill out a form on a mobile knows how complicated it can be. For product orders, information requests, and other forms your clients must fill, combine as many fields as possible for your mobile users. For instance, your desktop website may have a different field for first name and last name, but your mobile device form should take them into one field. Also, forms viewed via mobile devices should be vertically-orientated for the best user experience.

Situation-based Design

The mobility of mobile gadgets is another considerable difference from desktops. When people only accessed websites through desktops, designers didn’t have to put much thought into how and where users would reach out to their site. Now, everyone uses mobile devices to access websites. Mobile gadgets are portable, people carry them everywhere, and they almost always have an internet connection.

While you design a mobile site, taking into account the ongoing scenario is crucial. Users’ locations change quickly; likewise, the attentiveness and speed of their internet fluctuate. Steadily changing context means that people will go for short and simple communication through their mobiles. However, on rare occasions, users may patake in lengthy, complex communications.”

Tappable vs. Clickable Interactions

Since most of the mobile gadgets available now feature touchscreens, this approach alters the way people interact with sites on various devices. Rather than using a mouse to click, users tap on their mobile screens or use gestures to interact with the site.

You might not be concerned about it, but it should be one of the major aspects to take into consideration while designing sites for mobile devices. Think of viewing desktop websites and how simple it is to click on a text line or a hyperlink with a mouse. But to click a link with more delicate taps is completely different. This is termed a ‘fat finger’ problem.

Resolving the fat finger problem requires the expansion of interface elements like call-to-actions, links, and navigation tags. Also, make sure to provide enough space between each element.

Today, mobile-first websites are rapidly becoming web developers’ initial choice as they design and develop clients’ websites. In fact, 92.6% of people now use their mobile devices for browsing websites. Thus Google’s decision to index mobile sites first makes having a competent, content-driven mobile website more important than ever.

While the responsive design approach for desktops can also generate positive results. It’s importance has diminished from it’s golden days 10 years ago, when most website users were on desktop. As time goes on, so does our technology. So stay up-to-date!

Still have doubts whether you could leverage a mobile-first website to boost user engagement? Talk to our experts. We are here to help!

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