What is Mobile-First Website Design?

December 18, 2020

Website Design
Mobile-first website design

In 2020, there is no question that getting a mobile-friendly website up and running is crucial, as mobile traffic occupies 53.3% of the total internet traffic in 2019 alone, according to Broadband Search.

The need for mobile-friendly websites is amplified by the fact that many websites derive their traffic from social media platforms, which are increasingly oriented to mobile device users.

According to Review42’s Web Design Statistics, web design contributes largely to the perception of a company’s credibility, by as much as 75%. Meanwhile, 57% of consumers wouldn’t recommend a business that lacks a mobile-friendly website.

Modern web design agencies like ours successfully build and launch error-free mobile-friendly websites that are responsive to the most common browsing devices, such as phones, tablets and desktops. So, what is our secret?

Mobile-First Website Design Is Our Secret Sauce

Clearly, a new demand for mobile-friendly websites requires a new and modern approach — mobile-first website design.

The basic philosophy behind this approach is that we design websites to accommodate the limitations of mobile displays, and then later adapt that design to bigger screen sizes.

This is the reverse approach to the classic web building procedure. Before web browsing on smaller screen sizes became popular, web developers built websites to look presentable on desktop, with a minimum screen width of around 1000 pixels.

Anticipating users who would sometimes use mobile devices to visit the website, web developers then tried to fit the existing content snugly into a maximum screen width of around 700 pixels. This is done, for example, by fitting all of the content into one column, enlarging buttons and making text links more sparsely distributed.

The classic approach for mobile-friendliness may work for some websites, but there are advantages that the mobile-first website design approach can offer:

Development with a desktop computer

1. We Are Not Hindered By The Desktop Design Bias When Developing With A Desktop Computer

A great majority of web developers code with a desktop computer.

Because of this accustomization with the desktop screen size, web developers may unintentionally design something that would be perfect for a large screen size, but not necessarily for mobile screen sizes. This type of bias can be hindered by using the mobile-first approach.

2. We Become More Empathetic To Mobile Users

As we preview our website on a smaller viewport width, we not only have less space to work with, but we also have to think about how the users will see the content and interact with the website.

For example, paragraph lengths are shortened so that each paragraph does not take up too much vertical space as each line holds a fewer number of words. Buttons are enlarged and spaced out since users have less accuracy with finger tapping compared with clicking.

Form fields are bigger and easier to complete as users pull up the mobile keyboard at the lower third of the screen. We make use of users’ tendency to swipe to conveniently navigate through content that shares the same theme (pictures, product slideshows, posts, etc.).

Designing With Empathy

Do not allow bad design to prevent users from wanting to get to know your business better. At Island Media, good visual design is coupled with functionality. We do not only focus on making your website look visually appealing, but also making it easy to use and responsive, especially on mobile devices.

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