Think Mobile First

Re-designing your website? Think Mobile-First.

Many people planning and commissioning new websites are fixated with desktops, and it can skew their judgement. It’s easy to sit at your desk and look at your website and think this is what your customers do. In reality, it’s likely that your customers are using their smartphone or tablet, and only occasionally their desktop.

It goes without saying really: mobile phone popularity is through the roof. Google made it clear that indexing Mobile-First is a reality. When designing a website, Mobile-First should be your starting point.

Gone are the days when the mobile version of your website was a simplified version of your desktop website. Both desktop and mobile experiences need to be compatible. That said, the user experience on mobile is different simply because we interact with our phones differently – we touch and swipe in ways we can’t on desktop.

Everything is much smaller on mobile so it’s important to make sure things like the typeface renders in a size that doesn’t need a magnifying glass. And while some types of animations dazzle on the desktop, they might not work on certain mobiles.

Speed is important for mobile users and that means, among other things, keeping page sizes to a minimum. Access to high-speed broadband on mobile phones can vary greatly for everyone.

Building a prototype and testing the interface and user experience is important. The micro-copy you use on buttons, your anchor link text and the journeys you create all affect customer behaviours – which can be very different on mobile and desktop. Measure and review user data. The insights you’ll discover will drive enhancements and improve performance. There are always surprises, so it’s good to resolve them before designs are locked away.

Recently, we’ve been asked to limit the amount of scrolling on some of our clients’ mobile websites. I think it’s important to remember that scrolling is intuitive for all of us but clicking is a decision. It’s important not to hide your great content behind a click.