Five reasons to think ‘mobile first’ for your web design

Mobile first approach

With so many different shaped devices connecting to the internet, responsive website design is here to stay. A responsive website uses coding and a design system that adapts to different screen sizes. The goal? To make your site look just as good on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a desktop PC or laptop.

Most websites are designed for larger screens first; then responsive alternatives are added later, sometimes as a separate, “stepchild” site. This can result in the mobile version being awkward to navigate at best or in some cases never updated.

But a way of approaching web design is well under way: mobile first design. In other words, the design team prioritises the mobile site design first, conceived primarily for smaller screens, and then adapts the site for larger screens, enhancing wherever possible. This kind of thinking results in mobile sites with a higher functionality on smaller screens.

So why does it matter what’s designed first, as long as the site’s responsive?  We discuss five reasons why, when you redesign your website, you should be thinking mobile-first, focusing more on how your site will look on smaller screens.

1. Mobile as an afterthought can be expensive

Imagine this scenario: You’re shopping for a new design for your site. You find just what you’re looking for. The layout is smart, and navigation intuitive, and those colours look great. Only then do you notice that the design’s either not responsive or poorly so.

Now you have a dilemma. Do you pay a team of designers to make your site mobile after the fact? Do you scrap that design altogether and keep shopping, admitting that your search so far has been a waste of time and money?

Trying to retrofit a responsive design is more expensive than the other way around. If you think mobile first, you’ll be saving yourself all kinds of money and heartache.

2. Your users are already browsing on mobile

More people own a smartphone than a desktop computer, according 68% of American adults own a smartphone and 45% own a tablet. That means your audience is more likely to find you on their mobile device than on a traditional computer. People have adapted their tastes to appreciate a good mobile site and reject a messy one.

It only makes sense to focus more of your energies and resources in the media-form most likely to be tasted first by your visitors.

3. Mobile can reach more people

In most developing countries, for example, mobile has saturated faster than personal computers. That means children and teens are coming up now that own smartphones or tablets having never even used a computer. According to Statista, 53% of people in China own a smartphone, and those figures are only going to rise over the next five years.

Whether your website promotes a business or nonprofit, or even if it’s a simple personal travel blog, your audience can more quickly become worldwide if you design with a focus on mobile.

4. First impression is usually a mobile impression

According to a infographic, not only are more people browsing the web on mobile devices than ever before, but mobile users are more likely to share what they are reading. For example, mobile users are 66% more likely to retweet something compared to desktop users, and Pinterest content is shared nearly 3x more often on mobile than on desktop.

That means that, for most of your website’s audience, their first impression of your site will most likely be a mobile impression, perhaps after they tap a shared link to your site or content.

Because the internet is so packed with websites to visit, any visitor you have is likely to only visit your site once, never to return again if you don’t catch their eye right from the start. If most visitors will visit your site from a mobile device, then your mobile first impression is much more important than your PC first impression. It’s all in the numbers.

5. Google rankings now favour mobile friendly websites

Since April 2015, Google changed their algorithm to penalise websites that they don’t consider being mobile-friendly. Websites which are not mobile friendly could drop down search rankings dramatically. Over a year on since Google announced “mobilegeddon” and there has been a vast improvement in the quality of mobile responsive websites.

Planet Amazing specialise in mobile-friendly WordPress web design. Get in touch today for a free quote or take a look at our extensive portfolio of websites.