If you’ve been keeping your ears close to the ground related online trends, you’ve probably heard of the term mobile-first strategy or just mobile-first. As the term suggests, it refers to the trend of designers and developers creating websites for mobile phones or devices before making corresponding designs for traditional desktop computers – basically letting the mobile experience lead in the design process.
What precipitated this sort of thinking is the fact that as of November, 2016, over 50% of website traffic is now from a device considered mobile and, in the U.S. alone, 25% of mobile web users are mobile-only, as in they rarely use a desktop to access the web! This is a substantial portion of your potential audience and as time goes on, mobile is almost certain to expand as devices continue to grow in capability and sophistication. To further lend credence to this trend, look no further than Google. They’ve taken one of their most prized products, Google AdWords, and revamped it to incorporate mobile-first thinking, optimizing for screen sizes of popular smartphones and mobile devices, putting user experience at the forefront of campaign management, and taking advantage of the ‘new’ behavior of searchers.
So what exactly does this idea look like in practice? To take a mobile-first approach you’ll start with…what else, the mobile screen. Here you’ll face the task of trimming down the content of your proposed website to its most vital elements. You’ve only got so much space to work with and, to make sure a mobile user’s experience is optimal, you’ll need to think very thoroughly about what is absolutely necessary to show your visitor. Also, consider other factors that make for a great mobile experience: make phone numbers and addresses visible and clickable and evaluate your mobile page load speed and improve where possible (40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load).
This process should also be seen as advantageous when it comes to expanding the experience to desktop devices – you’ve already gone through the trouble of trimming down your content to its most important elements, now you get to decide how to make it more robust for the desktop experience.
Mobile devices are being carried by a larger portion of the population year after year, and with their ability to bring the web to your fingertips it’s more important than ever to make sure the user experience is as optimal as possible. A mobile-first strategy is a great method to address this need.