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What is Mobile First Web Design and Why Do You Need it

By March 25, 2019 April 16th, 2019 No Comments

We live in the age of mobile.

If we can’t find the information we need, the music we want or the current viral video on the go, at the touch of our fingertips, quite frankly, we feel – disconnected. Lost.

That’s why Google launched mobile first indexing in 2018, which prioritizes content and links from mobile website pages, making it easier and easier to quickly browse on our mobile devices. But before we dive too far into the ins and outs of mobile first design, let’s start where it all began: responsive web design.

Responsive Web Design

Before there was mobile first design, there was responsive web design. If you’ve ever visited a website on your mobile device that was nearly impossible to use, you were likely on a non-responsive site. Responsive web design was created to enable websites to fit the screens of different devices automatically, displaying the content in a way that is user friendly. This greatly reduces users’ operations like panning, zooming and scrolling when browsing the web.

Why “Mobile First” Is Crucial for Today’s Site Designs

Mobile internet usage surpassed desktop usage in 2016. This was not surprising since smartphone sales surpassed PC and Mac sales in 2012. With the majority of users being mobile, the move toward mobile first design was the next natural move. So, how does it work?

Mobile first design helps to save on design time and improve designers’ productivity. It also forces designers to pay more attention to the most relevant information on a site, which helps them to create simple designs with abbreviated, to-the-point content. Think of it like reading the headline and subhead of a news story – the user gets the highlights of the story vs. every last detail. Some would call it the elevator speech of a website.

For example, if you have a restaurant website, you want to highlight a few main things:

  • The menu (likely the first thing a user should see) and online ordering, if applicable
  • Any promotions
  • The location and hours

That’s it! Just the most important things a user looks for. (One way to find this out is to use Google Analytics as a guide to your most visited pages).

My Site Isn’t Mobile First. Where do I start?

Contact the Zephyr Digital Design team for expert mobile first design! Located in Kansas City, our team of pros are here to help you take the steps needed to bring your site up to speed.