There are a lot of things that you have to consider to sell online. It’s true for any kind of website including service providers and professionals such as lawyers, architects, consultants, or accountants. And one of the things often overlooked by professionals when they are getting their website made is the importance of a mobile-first strategy.
Going for a mobile-first design can help you create a website that’s not only structurally sound but also great for the user experience. In this guide, we’re going to look at what it is and why is it important.
What is Mobile-First? Is it Different from Responsive Web Design?
Everybody knows about responsiveness. It’s the process of optimizing a website for smaller screens—Especially mobile phones. Even SEO and digital marketing experts will tell you that, but only that.
It takes a competent web design and digital marketing agency to tell you why mobile-first design is the more important strategy today.
Mobile-first design is a type of web design where you begin with the mobile version of your website. From small considerations like heading font sizes to big ones like the overall layout and content arrangement is done for a mobile experience (not a particular screen size or resolution) and then scaled up for larger screens.
Traditionally, websites have grown the other way. We started using the internet on PCs and it took a while for mobile phones to catch up. And as they did, web designers started using techniques to optimize their pages for mobile screens, first using media queries to render certain layouts differently and then designing entirely different mobile versions.
But today, when more and more users are browsing the web on mobile or looking for quick information from their mobile devices, we have to change the way we design websites. This is especially true if over 60% of your traffic is mobile-based.
A mobile-first mentality creates much better layouts that are native to a small, portrait screen. They are then adapted for larger, landscape screens of laptops, PCs, and ultrawide monitors.
So, yes, a mobile-first approach is different from responsive web design. You don’t use any kind of tricks or inject any additional CSS to optimize your pages for mobile screens. You create your entire website for mobile screens and then see what can be done for larger ones.
How is it Better?
There are several reasons why a mobile-first approach is better. And no, it’s not just about delivering even better experiences on mobile compared to traditional responsiveness tactics, media queries, and other types of mobile optimization strategies.
In fact, a mobile-first approach touches upon several aspects and improves the overall experience of a website.
- Speed & Performance: The primary benefit of a mobile-first strategy is better speed and performance compared to traditional responsive design. As this strategy focuses on mobile optimization from the outset, the web design process ends up using significantly fewer unnecessary elements and heavy scripts.
- Seamless & Steady: Mobile-first design creates pages that load fast and improve user engagement. It’s not rare for things to get ignored or missed in responsive design. After all, designers and testers don’t analyze each aspect like element margins and button sizes after pushing every update. Continually testing the design on a mobile screen is, on the other hand, an integral part of the mobile-first design so such problems don’t happen.
- User Experience & Satisfaction: Designing your website with a mobile-first approach will help you create pages that present essential content and features upfront on smaller screens. No bugs, glitches, or problems that cause friction and will need to be fixed later. Visitors are more likely to find what they need quickly on a website designed with the mobile-first approach.
- Adaptability: Mobile-first design is better but not easier than responsive design. It includes comprehensive testing and ensuring perfect adaptability. Conventional mobile optimization approaches may overlook certain challenges surrounding screen sizes and resolutions—But a mobile-first approach ensures compatibility and consistency across the entire mobile spectrum. This adaptability eliminates the need for separate mobile versions or breakpoints, guaranteeing a unified experience for all users.
Staying competitive in an increasingly mobile-driven market is becoming harder. And websites that transition to a mobile-first approach rather than trying to accommodate each new breakpoint and fix every new visual glitch as it appears tend to do better online.
Search engines like Google also adopt mobile-first indexing and prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their results.
It won’t be an overstatement to say that a mobile-first strategy has become one of the most effective tools in the designer’s toolbox to cater to the needs of modern consumers and ensure seamless user experiences leading to higher conversions.
And you don’t have to take our word for it! In fact, if you look around a little, you’ll find that most (good) digital marketing packages today mention how they tackle the problem of mobile traffic by using a mobile-first design approach and why it works.
Unlike traditional responsive web design, which focuses on adapting desktop sites for mobile devices, mobile-first design takes a user-centric approach by prioritizing the mobile experience and then scaling up to larger screens. This approach yields several key benefits that contribute to its growing popularity.
The strategy has become a staple of search engine marketing services that actually deliver results and a better user experience.