A lot of companies often wonder why they should design a mobile website. Is it that important? Considering the fact that more than half of the global website traffic is coming from phones, scanning QR codes is now child’s play. Navigating GPS, taking photos, tracking steps, browsing the internet, and yes, keeping the phone with us 24/7.
With more than 80 percent of internet users surfing the internet on mobile devices and almost 70 percent of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, every website should be optimized for mobile use.
Regardless of the industry or niche, whether the business has a blog, a store or a business site, designing using a mobile first approach helps ensure the website meets the expectations of the mobile users in terms of speed, appearance, easy navigation and overall top-class user experience.
Mobile first design – what is it?
Mobile first web design refers to the philosophy of designing the website around the needs of users of mobile devices (tablets and smartphones chiefly). It considers limits of smaller screens from the very beginning for an improved mobile user experience.
The mobile-first approach has its roots in progressive advancement. Web designers create a website layout specifically for mobile devices, which can easily adapt to larger screens later on. This method does not support designing for a large screen first and then working down to the smallest screen size.
A user can only obtain content from a device’s set dimensions. A visitor who has enough space to see and consume a website’s content on a 17-inch monitor won’t have the same experience as the person seeing that site from their phones or tablets. Mobile-first design streamlines a company’s UI and UX design efforts by optimizing features essential for most users.
Main approaches in mobile-first design
Web design and development dubai teams often use two main approaches when it comes to mobile-first web design: Responsive and adaptive. Let us have a look at them in brief terms:
Adaptive web design (AWD)
This method utilizes fixed layouts and also helps in selecting the most suitable option in terms of device screen size. Yet adaptation is limited to the end product of web designers and developers. This kind of web design fits into the following standard viewing ports:
- 320 px.
- 480 px.
- 760 px.
- 960 px.
- 1200 px.
- 1600 px.
Responsive web design (RWD)
Responsive web design hides, shrinks or enlarges a site, on its own. It does so for improving the display standards on most devices. The design here is fluid responsive which adjusts a website’s appearance as per the browser window’s size on the device.
Factors marking the importance of mobile-first design
Mobile technology continuously evolves. It demands and supports speed, top-notch video streaming capabilities and advancements made in wireless connections. This changes the way people manage their daily lives. With phones predicted to overtake DSLR and Digital cameras, this proves technological advances are impacting industries.
Let us now examine the factors stressing upon mobile first design:
Improved User Experience via top notch UX design
Mobile device trends reveal both impediments and opportunities for User Experience (UX) designers, User-Interface (UI) designers, web designers and web developers. Yet at the ground level, mobile first design focuses on user experience primarily. This can help mobile formatted sites offer an optimized and much well-put user experience.
The accessibility factor
Mobile-first design helps give users greater control on when and where they can access any website. Through designing (or redesigning) a website for accessibility, brands and companies will include users who were previously excluded. In short, mobile users should have a worthwhile experience better than visiting a website on a computer.
Mobile-first design helps make online learning easy to access and easy to use. As mobile users can use voice commands or listen to content when doing other things (driving, exercising, playing games) which hence can turn free time into chances of learning.
Improved website performance
Mobile optimization is a key website performance indicator. Experts believe that when the speed of retail sites on mobile devices improves by almost 0.1 seconds, the subsequent visitor conversion rates rise by approximately 8.5%.
Also, Google uses mobile-first indexing and has been doing so for more than a decade where it primarily crawls and indexes pages adhering religiously to a mobile-first design. In short, the better a website is designed for a mobile platform, the easier it becomes using it and better its performance too.
A mobile-first approach can help companies measure and check their website’s design across different devices. Whenever an idea is conceptualized on the mobile platform, it will be easy to scale it back for desktops and laptops. In short, it is easy to add elements for mobile and then adding more for desktops instead of reducing them.
Key principles of mobile first design
The following are key principles of mobile-first design:
- Putting content first.
- Creating user-friendly navigation.
- Planning and creating proper site hierarchy.
- Creation of a user-friendly interface.
- Testing on real devices.
Professionals from a well-known website design company Dubai agree with all things mentioned here. They also believe that creating a website for mobile devices first and then adjusting it for computers is a much better approach as it is a forward moving one.