The Benefits of Mobile-First Design

We’ve written before about the importance of prioritizing the mobile experience of your website, but today we’re coming at it from a different angle. Yes, more and more people are using their phones to visit websites, and yes, Google will reward you with a higher ranking for having a lightweight and speedy mobile site. But also, giving your site’s mobile experience more consideration can help to simplify and strengthen your website’s overall user experience. Here’s how.

Less screen real estate means you’re forced to focus on what’s most important.

Consider your vision for your business’s website. Maybe it helps your clients book appointments, or browse your inventory, or order food for delivery. Picture all the text, links, input fields, and buttons your customer will need to interact with, not to mention all of the photos and graphics that will aid in conveying your site’s purpose. Now shrink that vision down to a 3×6 inch screen. It probably starts to feel a little cramped!

By considering the mobile experience earlier in the design process, we can figure out which elements are the most important to prioritize for the user. If everything is important, nothing is important – so it’s time to make some tough decisions. If the customer can’t find the Add to Cart button on your product page because there are too many “related products” cluttering the page, that’s a problem!

Mobile-first design asks: what’s really important here?

It’s easier to start with a minimalist mindset and expand later than the other way around. After you’ve decided what the most important elements on your page are and figured out how to optimally display them on a smaller screen, growing that layout for tablet and desktop is just a matter of expanding on the features, content, and user interactions that are already there.

As an added bonus, taking a fully mobile-first approach to building a website means that your site will function more quickly and efficiently on mobile devices, which is important because they often have weak or variable network connections (when compared to laptops and desktops). Stay tuned for a future article about mobile-first development (meaning: code!) techniques.

Don’t let your mobile site become an afterthought.

If you find yourself thinking that your mobile site isn’t that important, or that no one is visiting your site on a phone, maybe it’s time to check the facts: Google Analytics can track whether your users are accessing your site via desktop or mobile. If you’re interested in finding out how many people are using your site on their phones, and in learning how to optimize and improve your site’s mobile experience, give us a shout so we can take a closer look.

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