What is mobile-first design?

If even a small majority of your customers, let’s say 52% of them, entered through the rear door of your building rather than the front door, you would probably consider redesigning your space around the back door as the main point of entry. Well, that’s essentially what’s happening with your website. Your customers are coming to your site predominantly via their mobile devices rather than their computers, so it’s time to consider catering your site to mobile users first.

Mobile website traffic (not including tablets) has now overtaken desktop traffic across the globe, so the way we build websites is changing. It’s no longer enough that your website is “responsive,” where the CSS is used to adjust the format of the site in accordance with the device it’s viewed on. Mobile-first design is a strategy that considers the needs of mobile users first and foremost instead of a desktop website that is forced into a mobile box.

While there are several other technical solutions we’re implementing to provide mobile-first website development to our clients, here are three basic strategies that you can use to help your website cater to your mobile-first customers:

1. Less is more

If you’re viewing a website on a computer, the length and amount of content is less relevant. In fact, longer, more in-depth blog posts have been proven to attract nine times more leads than shorter posts. However, mobile users are looking at your site on significantly smaller screens, so to be mobile-first, your content needs to be concise and to the point. 

2. Minimalist Design

Minimalism is a smart design tactic for any website. People are attracted to simplicity and tend to feel overwhelmed and frustrated by too many options, too many words, and too much design. When creating content for your website, consider every opportunity to reduce the number of links and pages, and the amount of overall content on those pages. As they say, “keep it simple, stupid.” This is especially true when it comes to mobile-first design.

3. Utilize appropriate graphic design

How much does graphic design matter? A study found that companies that value graphic design outperform companies that don’t by 200%. They are considered more trustworthy, more memorable, and easier to work with. 

Some mobile-first design trends include using clean lines, a vivid color palette, making smart, attractive font choices, and using real photographs rather than stock photos.

Does all of this mean you need to ditch your responsive website immediately and jump on the mobile-first bandwagon? Absolutely not. A responsive site that looks good and functions well on mobile is still relevant and will generally serve you for a while longer. However, the wind of change is blowing, so the next time you redesign your site, look toward the future and consider a focus on mobile-first design.