We like to see the opportunities in the challenges that must be overcome for smaller screens. Many design elements such as rollover effects or hover states, tables and image overlays are either not possible or not practical for viewing on mobile phones or tablets. However, this doesn't mean that the design will suffer, but simply adjusted accordingly. They can be replaced or added to with elements of equal impact - making use of the swipe and/or pinch functions of smartphones can create a great user experience.
Another factor to consider is how much content is visible at one time. Content is generally stacked on top of each other in mobile formats, so it's crucial to think about the hierarchy - what is the most important element that viewers see when they land on your site? They need to engage with what they see straight away or risk leaving the site before scrolling any further.
We have found that often, the most effective design process is to start with the mobile layout, moving on to tablet and desktop (standard and large) layouts. We like to think of it as similar to moving house - it's much easier (and more fun!) to move from a small flat to a large house. This way you get the excitement of adding features and elements as you go, rather than having to strip features away!
We have also found it invaluable to design in conjunction with our talented development team. This provides us with the best combination of creativity and technical knowledge, the ability to share ideas as we design and the most efficient use of time to build effective websites.
*Adapted from data from the Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.1.0.