Has there ever been a piece of technology so embraced by our tech-hungry population as smartphones?
Data by Pew Research Center in 2015 showed that 68 percent of Americans used smartphones and 45 percent used tablets. Today, these numbers are likely even higher. We’ve become addicted to staying connected while on the go, and the internet is responding in kind.
Consider the 2015 update to Google’s search algorithms, affectionately dubbed “mobilegeddon”, which noticeably improved the organic Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) of sites optimized for mobile viewing. Naturally, mobile optimization has been a hot issue in the past few years. With Google leading the charge, sites are rushing to adapt their frameworks to better cater to mobile users.
This brings us to the concept of a mobile-first approach to web design: A web development concept all business owners need to be aware of.
Much like it sounds, mobile-first web design is the practice of developing your web interface for the smallest screens first, in the interest of catering to your mobile users. And according to data provided by Google that shows over half of all search queries now come from mobile devices, mobile-first design is fast becoming a necessity for a quality user experience.
The idea is that the mobile browsing experience encompasses the essence of your site design. It should be the distilled version of your interface with only the most useful and relevant features included. As screen size increases to that of the typical laptop and desktop PC, the bells and whistles can be added to help fill the extra screen real estate.
Broadly, mobile-first design features several characteristics unique to the mobile browsing experience:
- A cutthroat approach to page structure, design, and the visual hierarchy of your page – with limited screen space to work with, there’s no room for fluff.
- Functional considerations for mobile browsing, such as how easy it is to tap hyperlinks with a finger or how large text needs to be for easy readability
- Device integration, such as specific apps or widgets that allow users to interact with services outside of the web browser
And really, these features underscore why you should care about mobile-first web design: It’s important to you because it’s important to your users.
Don’t Neglect the Needs of Your Users
While designing a website for an optimal mobile browsing experience requires a different set of skills than a typical web page, it’s not really optional these days. Users are favoring mobile browsing. Because of this, Google and other search indexers are also favoring mobile browsing.
Any business refusing to adapt to the mobile world will quickly fall behind – if you haven’t yet taken the plunge, reach out to a designer that can help you adapt your site for the mobile world.