Small screens are impacting web design trends.  Customers come with three sizes: smart phone, tablet, and desktop. According to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, the number of mobile devices in the United States now exceeds the U.S. population. Many adults consume media on the Web with more than one device, not including their home or work computer.

The explosive growth of mobile devices is sure to affect web design trends. Consider that in the first six months of 2011, data use on wireless networks rose 111 percent. Even here at Roundpeg, Lorraine is integrating an iPad into her workflow alongside a desktop work computer and mobile phone.

The small screen obsession of a mobile audience creates new design challenges. Limited space and slower speeds of wireless data networks create headaches for visitors to animated and image heavy homepages. Yet, the best contemporary web designs use high-resolution images and subtle animations to make a strong impact. To bridge this discrepancy, designers are building responsive new web layouts that change based on the device being used.

Try visiting using the browser on a web-enabled mobile phone. The site’s content is displayed in an attractive and minimal design that lacks the glossy images of CNN’s standard size homepage, but delivers easy browsing customized for the small screen.

You are not CNN. But it’s evident that consumers are using their mobile devices more than ever as their primary source for information.

New WordPress themes are quickly becoming available from quality designers in response to this shift in viewing habits. Navigation, pages and posts are all displayed differently depending on the screen size detected by the theme.

Chris Spooner at posted a great list of  “20 High Quality Responsive WordPress Themes”. The Buro, Easy and Yoko themes impressed me with rich standard size designs that translated well to simple menu navigation on mobile devices.

Take a look at your company’s site and take a look at your audience. If you depend on your web site to attract and inform customers, it’s past time to roll out the welcome mat to mobile visitors.

Need help? Contact Roundpeg, an Indianapolis web design firm.