When the iPhone first debuted it created a whole new platform (previous to the iPhone, phones had browsers but they were meager excuses for a web browser) for people to begin accessing the web. Mobile Safari was introduced to the world by loading up the New York Times and Mr. Jobs displayed for the world his wonderful pinch to zoom technology (and double tap). The NY Times website took more than 10 seconds to render completely over wifi and there was quite a bit of pinching, double tapping, and panning left/right included in the demo.
We’ve grown beyond that and we expect much more from the web browsers on our phones. If you load nytimes.com on a modern smartphone you won’t be pinching in and out. Websites that don’t load in 5 seconds lose our attention and we move on to some other article, tweet or Facebook post. Website design has progressed as well to meet the demand as more people access the internet from a phone or tablet than a desktop now. Often websites no longer require you to pinch and zoom and pan left and right. They are optimized to fit the screen size of the device you are using. With the leap in design some folks might have difficulties catching up to how website designers want you to use their websites. These changes are often inferred rather than explained.
– The Hamburger Icon
Website navigation has been re-imagined on many mobile websites, so that it can be hidden away this way you can get to the actual content of the page that you are on quicker. Much less scrolling is involved this way. The “hamburger” as it is sometimes called is what often triggers the menu in this new design scheme. When you press this button it will expand or a menu will slide over from the edge of the screen. To make it go away most times you can press the “hamburger” again.
Tabs are also used often in mobile websites. If you aren’t aware of this change then you might be missing some key information on websites you visit from your phone. Be on the lookout for these.
Hopefully if you’ve had any difficulty at all making you way around websites on your phone this article can help explain things a bit.