Build Your Website for Mobile First

mobile first

Mobile First? But My Site Is Already Mobile Responsive

While mobile usage continues to increase among consumers, the fact is that phones, tablets, and desktop computers are all still relatively equal when it comes to the devices consumers use. When it comes to conversions, well … websites visited via desktop continue to earn higher conversion rates than the mobile version. So what does this mean for website design? Should equal attention be given to desktop, tablet, and mobile? And should you design your site for desktop first or for mobile?

A Multi-Platform Approach

Design experts pretty much agree that a multi-platform approach is key. By building a website that works on each type of device, you can tap into the unique advantages of each platform. However the general consensus also agrees that design should take a progressive approach by tackling the mobile version of their website first and the desktop version last. So what’s the thinking behind this, and does it make sense?

Google and Mobile First Indexing

Back in 2015, Google announced its intention to give more weight in its search rankings to sites that were mobile-friendly. In 2019, they advised it would begin indexing websites based on their mobile version, rather than its desktop version. This means that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you can expect to take a hit in your search rankings.

Building for Mobile Means You’re Starting with the Best Possible Product

Think about it. When you start with a desktop version of a site first, you’re putting everything into the user experience for desktop. Then taking away almost all of that great design as you try to pare down to bare bones for a mobile version.

Using a progressive approach instead means you put top-level effort into the mobile version first. Instead of ending up with a sparse design for your mobile version, you’re starting instead by with the most incredible streamlined version possible and continuing to make it better. You’ll begin to you flesh out your tablet and desktop versions by adding larger blocks of content, for example. The result is a more consistent user experience overall.

Mobile Will Likely Be the First, and Maybe the Only, Interaction Visitors Have with Your Site

Recent statistics show that mobile use continues to grow, especially through apps. Countries like India, Mexico, and Indonesia use smartphones up to four times over desktop to access websites. People spend more time per day on their phones than on any other type of device. That means if you don’t have a mobile website, or if it’s not providing a great user experience, you may lose potential customers that you’re not likely to get back again.

How to Design for Mobile

When you’re designing your site for mobile, it’s important to think about the user experience in relation to the smaller size of the device. Some things we think are important to consider:

  1. Use The Right Size Font: 16 point is recommended; smaller than what would typically be used on a desktop site, since anything larger is just too big for the smaller screen.
  2. Larger Button Size: Since you’re using your thumbs or fingers on mobile devices, increasing the size of buttons gives a user more precision when clicking.
  3. Incorporate Simple Design: You don’t have a lot of space on a mobile site so look for ways to simplify. Think about icons, for example, instead of text for menus, phone numbers, and so on.
  4. Reduce Text Entry: It’s a pain to have to enter a ton of information if you’re ordering something on a mobile site. Use checklists, drop-down boxes, and other elements to reduce the need for users to manually enter text.
  5. Optimize Your Images: Because cell service can be slower than cable internet, you don’t want slow content downloads sending users away from your site so be sure your images are optimized for mobile.

For more advice and details on how to create a mobile site for today, and tomorrow, contact Doug Brown Design. We know how to work within search engine ranking guidelines, how to create a site that transitions seamlessly across platforms, and ensures your users get a great overall experience!