Five killer ways to use mobile navigation

This article first appeared in issue 236 of .net magazine – the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

Responsive web design is the new great industry progression in how you approach making your website usable across different mobile devices. The big three elements that make up a proper responsive website are: fluid grids, media queries and flexible media. These are great, but are primarily tech-focused. There is a pretty big hurdle in figuring out what to do with all the interactions and design elements on your website as you fit your work into much smaller screen widths.

The most important interaction is the main navigation. There are quite a few design patterns for how this can be handled successfully, but there are also some basic considerations you need to take into account to make something truly easy to use.

One is that there is a design factor in what a person can reach on the screen with the use of one hand. So the links or buttons on your design need to be large enough that a user can target them with their finger, preferably their thumb.

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