What is Mobile First Design
Mobile first design is an approach to web design that starts with mobile layout, UI, and UX. The mobile first design approach has been around for quite some time. Although recently it has seen an increase in popularity. This is primarily due to the fact that search queries on mobile devices has now overtaken or paralleled desktop. While mobile searches continue to rise, mobile first is a strategy that has to be thought through for each specific business and website being built.
What is a Mobile First Design Agency
A mobile first agency is one that is cognizant of the fact that search trends are rivaling desktop trends. The agency knows that people are looking for information while on the go. The agency knows what current digital trends surround your market in relation to your products, services, and competitors. A mobile first agency recognizes the importance of mobile design and does not leave it to a developer to “figure out”. Even if a desktop design is completed first, the agency should always hand off mobile designs that are optimized for mobile.
The Importance of a Mobile First Approach
Most agencies tend to keep up with trends. Mobile approach is something worth bringing up in your next review or strategy meeting. While mobile first is not the only approach to be taken, your takeaway from this should be that mobile is important. If your mobile website design does not convert as well as your desktop design, it’s time to take a look.
When to Use Mobile First
As mentioned in the previous section, a mobile first approach might not work for every business. Data should be reviewed prior to any design process. We will save that topic for a later discussion. Firstly, data should provide the agency with detailed metrics revolving around desktop, mobile, and tablet usage. The idea is that the website being designed and developed should be responsive to all screen sizes and devices. However, keying in on data that shows the most used device can give designers an upper hand as to where to start.
Why Mobile First
Mobile first allows for a more streamlined experience on all devices. Keep in mind that the previous statement is extremely relative to the project at hand. With that said, the purpose is to deliver a more natural version of the site across all devices. I am sure you have come across a website where the on page elements simply slide or stack and appear un-natural within different screen sizes. The overarching value here is that mobile is not an afterthought. For any agency to put mobile design on the back burner today is somewhat slightly criminal.
Responsive Web Development is not Dead
When a mobile first design approach is taken development follows suite. When it comes to development is that media queries scale. Media queries scale up rather than down. Mostly using
min-width rather than
max-width allows developers to scale up in stride with design. Taking a mobile first approach requires the developer to have access to mobile, tablet, and desktop mockups. Increased awareness helps keep the simple nature of mobile design cohesive.
Mobile First Acceptance
Mobile first design is still not widely used. It is still not considered common practice. As metrics continue to prove that mobile is truly taking over search, this will inevitably change. Ultimately it is up to the agency to provide cohesive experiences across all devices, browsers, and screen orientations.
Optimize for Mobile
There are numerous ways to optimize for mobile. The greatest of all is starting with a mobile first approach. If you do not have that luxury, there are ways to remedy or implement a better solution. Keep in mind that your mobile website does not have to be a slimmed down version of your website. Removing elements simply because they do not “look good” on mobile is never a good approach. Instead, what you should do is rethink the structure of the site on mobile. Start with navigation and move through copy, imagery, and calls to action. Take a look at how the forms of the website react on mobile as this is a key feature for any website.
Images used in this post were taken from some of our work in which we did utilize a mobile first approach.