Mobile-friendly sites are nothing new. They have existed as long as cell phones have had screens of a reasonable size. And more people are using their mobile devices to browse the internet every year.
Website designers are reevaluating their priorities in light of the exponential surge in mobile online traffic. If most users access the internet via mobile devices, shouldn’t websites be designed with mobile screen sizes in mind first and desktop versions later? This idea has significantly impacted website design and workflows.
Websites are typically viewed as desktop sites first and mobile sites second by web designers and their clients in earlier years. Because it’s familiar to us, we frequently design for desktops first. But what would happen if we reversed this process and began by designing for mobile first?
Together with our web design professionals at Digital Rescue, we will examine the idea of mobile-first design and some of the pros and cons of this strategy to help you fully understand it before you start building your new website.
What is Mobile-First Design?
In the past, web designers would first create a website optimised for desktop, then take those design features and make them smaller for mobile. Start big and scale back as necessary—this process is known as graceful degradation.
Progressive enhancement is the term for mobile-first design. You start with the smallest amount of content and gradually increase it to meet the required screen size.
Simply said, the mobile-first design creates a website’s mobile version before its desktop counterpart.
Why Is Mobile-First Design Important?
Thinking about designing for mobile devices first is vital because you might find it difficult to delete or condense information after creating a larger space. This implies that you will delete the content that can result in significantly reduced user experience, or the smaller display will appear crowded and overstuffed, negatively impacting your customers’ user experience.
In contrast, if you start small and condense your content at the beginning of the design stage, you’ll discover that adding additional elements to your screen gets simpler as the available space increases.
How Does Having a Responsive Website Design Beneficial?
An excellent website that looks and functions well on a single platform can develop into a fantastic one that looks and functions best on any platform, which benefits you in several ways.
No matter what device a customer uses to access your website, providing a consistent design gives them the same experience. Continuity helps to seamlessly deliver a fluid design and the same content, which is crucial for improving user experience and customer satisfaction.
In addition to helping your customers, having a responsive website can lighten your workload. One set of code will be all that web developers will need to manage, which will save on both time and development costs.
What’s the Difference Between Desktop-First Design and Mobile-First Design?
A desktop-first design approach treats a website’s desktop version as its primary and most comprehensive user interface. Then, as the screen size shrinks, concessions are made to provide a condensed replica of the original. Interaction is frequently difficult since smaller devices and their screens can’t support a desktop-scale design.
On the other hand, a mobile-first strategy encourages lightweight, low-bandwidth designs that you can improve according to screen size and available features. More content may appear when the device can handle it, although it is unnecessary for a positive user experience.
Web designers realised the necessity for separate desktop and mobile experiences as more visitors started accessing websites through their mobile devices. Some developed separate sites for mobile and desktop. Over time, responsive design, which allows the same desktop-first design to adapt to various screen sizes, became the norm.
Google officially acknowledged in 2015 that more people were using Google via a mobile device than a desktop. This was a significant step towards user-first design, as the preferences and experiences of the user started to come first in the design process.
The Pros of Mobile-First Design
Better User Experience Across All Devices
The goal of mobile-first design is to make it simple and effective for users to move through a website or app. To put it another way, designing for seamless interactions is everything. It is more likely to provide a better user experience because it is built as a complete experience rather than a condensed version of a comprehensive desktop experience.
Additionally, designing for the smallest screen first results in a more responsive design, where you can expand the content and user interface of the website or app to accommodate larger devices more readily than compress a desktop-first design to fit smaller screens.
Draw in the Majority of Users
The most significant benefit of the mobile-first design is that it appeals to most users, as desktop dominance is a thing of the past, with more than 50% of internet users now using mobile devices. Knowing your audience is the first marketing rule you must follow to reach them where they are.
It makes sense to start your design utilising mobile screen dimensions, reflecting and optimising the site content based on consumer norms since mobile users currently make up the majority of internet traffic.
Easy Access to Important Information
No matter which location a user accesses your website, it provides them with the required information. People demand high-quality website content that answers their enquiries or aids decision-making when researching on mobile devices. You may satisfy that desire by adopting a mobile-first strategy that emphasises the most crucial content.
Less Code Means Fewer Bugs
The explanation is straightforward: Less code implies fewer potential for problems. As previously said, desktop-first design starts with a complicated concept and is later scaled down for smaller screens. This heavily coded initial state increases the likelihood of errors in the final product. You can quickly find and prevent issues with a more straightforward, mobile-first approach.
Better Ranking on Google
Google favours quicker load times, so how quickly your website loads may greatly influence your results.
Google started using page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches in July 2018. Businesses all across the world have increased the speed of their pages as a result of this “Speed Update.” After all, according to Google, “conversions might plummet by up to 20% for every second a mobile website takes to load.”
The lesson here is that speed is what matters most. There’s a good chance that your competitors are working hard to make this better. Compared to a desktop-first website viewed on a mobile device, where even hidden features need to be loaded, a mobile-first website will load more quickly.
The Cons of Mobile-First Design
Smaller Creative Space and Canvas
When migrating to mobile-first design, many web designers will have this experience. They are accustomed to a larger workspace the size of a desktop. They could feel constrained if you ask them to use fewer tools and a smaller canvas. Depending on the designer, this could be either a welcome or a disagreeable challenge.
Uncertainty for Customers
Your customers might not be comfortable with a mobile-first strategy because they won’t be able to see the desktop version until much later. They might only be willing to abandon a desktop-first strategy once they have complete confidence in your judgement.
Not Easy to Work With
Learning new ways to accomplish things is a necessary part of the change. Many website designers on the internet have referred to starting with a mobile-first design as “neither pleasant nor easy.”
Using a mobile-first strategy necessitates a shift in perspective. If you truly want to produce a remarkable mobile-first experience, you’ll need to invest the time to understand the tactics, test out what works, and discover new design techniques.
Training Time and Costs
A team knowledgeable about the new design techniques needed to create and implement a mobile-first design approach is required. To help with this difficulty, you could hire more personnel, train your team or hire a reliable web design agency in Melbourne.
How to Build a Good Mobile-First Design?
Prioritise Content Before Other Elements
Presenting the content comes first when it comes to designing for mobile. Any more elements could complicate the smaller screen and distract the user experience. This suggests that a mobile website just displays the important information. Mobile-first design frequently uses a visual hierarchy based on each element’s significance.
Apple’s websites are an excellent illustration of a straightforward, content-first design. You will only see the distraction-free, necessary information when you visit their pages, even their desktop versions.
Make Your Pages Easy To Navigate
On a desktop, there may be lots of room for navigation menus, but on mobile, there is much less. Users are more likely to stay on your website longer and have a better overall experience thanks to an intuitive navigation system that makes it simple to switch between pages.
Ensure Your Pages Load Fast
A website’s user experience and SEO ranking are heavily impacted by page loading. Slower load times will result in page abandonment because many people don’t have the patience to wait. It is, therefore, crucial to eliminate extraneous components that can cause your loading speed to suffer.
Create a Mobile First Web Design with Digital Rescue
Mobile users already make up the majority of website visitors. As a leading web design agency in Melbourne, it’s our job to help you be able to cater to your audience. This means if they start with mobile, we should also start with mobile. With the help of our 20+ years of experience in the industry combined with leading SEO strategy by TopRankings, having a great mobile-first design website is guaranteed. Contact us to get rescued by Digital Rescue today!