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Usability Differences Between Desktop and Mobile Platforms

Usability Differences Between Desktop and Mobile Platforms

We often hear that a desktop layout is different from a mobile layout and how important it is to know the key distinctions. It allows you to tailor fit functions and features to each specific platform — enhancing the user experience and the possibility of conversion.  But, how are desktop and mobile platforms different?

Differences Between Desktop and Mobile Platform Usability

To better understand desktop and mobile platform usability and layout, here are some of their key difference.


A great way to optimize your site is to pepper your home page and other key pages with as many relevant keywords as you possibly can. This allows you rank higher on different search engines — making it easier for your target audience to find you.

You don’t have that luxury with phone users. Expect them to be active and more likely to click away if you don’t streamline your content. With a mobile platform, you need to put more content in the interior pages, so as not to clutter the main ones.


An effective desktop menu is often customized and packed with anything that user could possibly need, from the “about the site” section to the “FAQ”s. While you have the opportunity to feature a lot in a desktop design, you don’t have the same luxury for mobile designs.

People who use their phones for searching are often doing this while they’re engaged in other activities — such as walking or conversing with other people.t That means the information they most need should be what’s most accessible. Forget about the tease that desktop platform designers use to build up a page that leads to another page — doing multiple conversions at once. Get straight to the point.

You also have to remember the difference between a touch screen and trackpad or a mouse. Stay away from fancy rollover effects or tiny buttons cramped next to each other. If their fingers can’t click it, you’re not converting that user.

Image Resolution

When you show images on the desktop version of your site, you can go all out — the best resolution. It shows users that you have high-quality content, and that usually encourages that to support your work. Blurry images are deemed as unprofessional and are sometimes even classified as scam sites. So, for this platform, the focus is quality.

On the other hand, a mobile platform requires a balance between good resolution and reasonable loading time. If you add high-resolution photos that take forever to load, users might not even get to see them. Worse is if they do see it, and it’s all in the wrong sizes — ruining the aesthetics of the page.

 What do you notice when you are on a mobile site versus a desktop site?  Let us know in the comments below!

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