Mobile First Web Design – What’s Important Moving into 2019
Whether designers like it or not the mobile age is taking over the way design needs to be executed from start to finish. Statistics don’t lie with a global average of 51.2% of all traffic being mobile as of April 2018 as per Statista.
With website development, your priorities are now to put mobiles first before desktop versions. That’s where the business is in 2019.
In the mobile phone market users are looking for better reach and downloads.
What is Mobile First?
By 2020, almost 75% of the global population will be connected by mobile.
With these kinds of statistics in mind and with the growth rate unlikely to slow down after 2020 with third world countries entering developing countries classification status the demand for mobile-friendly websites and applications have never been higher or expected.
What has been designed up until now, of course, has been desktop orientated with the mobile version very much a secondary consideration.
With the focus shifting now towards mobile development first this is going to create more opportunities for your customer’s businesses and help increase their user experience (UX) which as well all know is now vital to their ranking chances with Google.
So the focus now starts on the small screen moving onto the larger screen as a progressive enhancement. So a focus on the content provided within a compact space is primary and further enhancements for the larger screen secondary.
Mobile First and its Importance
As we have covered, people are now using mobiles to access websites today more than laptops or desktops. That is across the board, from reading information to shopping and from work-related interests to games. The last five years especially seeing an exponential growth rate.
With a shift in recent years from imagery being the prevalent importance on the website to it now being profoundly content driven, the small screen gives the designer an opportunity to play to this strength by focusing on the content while working with less space.
In effect, helping reduce bounce rates and enhance UX and support any SEO work in the process. So you can coin the phrase – mobile first becomes content first. Bringing the most important information to light in conjunction with upload speed and the poignant information is what the user and Google are looking for.
Mobile First – How it works
Mobile first in essence is about creating a direct foundation to then expand for the larger screen version of desktops and laptops.
So content focus over navigation is the first consideration by making the content accessible faster with scrolling is the key to an enhancement in UX, helping to reduce bounce rates, increase downloads and subsequently conversion rates, which is your main focus for your client.
Mobile first makes you the designer focus on removing non-essential elements on the page and hone in on the businesses brand, brand message and call-to-actions.
Don’t confuse this by thinking elements are not essential to the website in general, it’s just a filter-like system for mobile first usage. Then be sure to use them effectively for the larger screen version.
It’s a straightforward concept that some find difficult to grasp but here’s an easy explanation.
Mobile users have different requirements:
. Compact Information
. Limited but important features
Desktop users require:
. In-depth Information
. Additional Features
YouTube – One of the most well-known examples. The desktop version is an extended version of the YouTube App. The website version was created with a responsive design, so when the screen is reduced, resolution automatically adjusts.
Night Mode Text Display
A good example is the Apple website itself.
The mobile version is a showcase for content layout. Without a navigation button, it’s just scrolling and is easy to use. The shopping bag is on display, so the information and the result for Apple presents itself.
Easy and convenient scroll navigation for Mobile Friendliness
Facebook is a heavy usage exponent of UX.
Their animations have been implemented across the board from the website to the Facebook App, and Facebook Lite App which as the name dictates is extremely lighter than the standard App.
The Facebook Lite App showcases the need for just the necessary features using less space on your phones user face, with faster load speeds helping in low-speed internet areas. Now the mobile site also supports animations and emotions.
Effective Animations – Less Occupied Space – Lighter and Faster
Evernote is a good example of clean UI. Evernote provides document storage on all platforms. The mobile and desktop version are similar with a simple and clear UI, making it very popular with the user for note storage on mobiles.
Clean and Fresh Mobile Interface Trends
There are two main options open to you to simplify UX.
- Progressive Disclosure
This acts as a filter system that discloses information to the user only when needed. A prime example is a gaming app, giving the user the option to see instructions or program information in order to play.
- Linear flow
This is showing information in steps, so you have a start – middle – end allowing the user to process information easier. Uber is an excellent example for cab bookings.
Animations that are Gesture Based
These are animations that come with text instructions and feedback with transitions. Tinder is a good example when swiping slideshows in the galleries.
Experience Focused on Content
Making content easily accessible with the importance being relevance and keywords. Necessary information is key to mobile users as they have less space, so usage of prime content is critical.
Here are two examples of how to utilise this:
- The De-Cluttering Process
The removal of irrelevant information and the priority of content with relevance is the epitome of UX enhancement. This applies very much to visuals too. Helping to convey the most important message within the space you are designated.
- Clear Visual Priority
Crisp, clean and clear visuals enhance the UI experience ensuring it is more presentable and straightforward to understand. Call-to-actions are extremely important not only to the actual sales process but also for creating back-links and helping rankings, so contrasting colours need to be thought about to make these clear and visual to the end user.
One slight advantage designers have today is the Infinity display of phones like the iPhone X and the Galaxy S8 as you now have more screen space in which to work with, at the same time the user, especially millennial’s expect that area to be maximised, so ensure you provide HD images and videos that are clear and not pixelated on mobile screens, heightening the UX.
As we know all users are different, but personalisation is a must when considering design. So make as many options to allow self-customisation based on their preferences is the smart route to take. Here are some examples to consider:
Add a GPS location-based content option
Font – Make it changeable
App Dimensions – Make them changeable
The goalposts have changed for designers just like they are for every sector of the industry. So the loud and clear message is mobile first. User experience is a must and ensure everything is conversion driven for all your customers’ bottom line.
As a new trend, some designers may look at it as an inconvenience, instead look at it as an opportunity to steal a march on your competition and push yourself to the forefront as the go to individual or company for the latest mobile-friendly design.
On the contrary to making things more difficult mobile first design makes it easier to develop the desktop version as you are dealing with the more difficult aspect first, I have seen it firsthand being embraced in here in web design, Melbourne so embrace the chance and here’s to your upcoming success.
James Row is a passionate blogger and professional software developer who is associated with Web-designs who are experts in web designs in Melbourne, Australia. He has a love for informative writing, and looks to keep you up to date with the latest information about the industry.