With mobiles and smartphones being the main device to access the internet in the UK during 2016, the case for Mobile-First design is on the rise…
Mobile-First had to be taken seriously in 2015 when Google announced they were extending the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal throughout mobile search results. The case for Mobile-First is also supported by changes in online behaviour and choice of device.
According to the Office for National Statistics, during 2016,
- 82% of adults went on the internet daily.
- 71% used their mobile or smartphone to access the web.
- 77% of adults bought goods or services via their mobile device
- 98% of young people aged 16-24 used their mobile’s daily to engage in social networking, video sharing and searching for goods and services
- 40% of adults accessed the internet via a desktop device.
The most popular activity completed online by adults was sending/receiving emails (79%). The second most common internet activity was finding information about goods and services, undertaken by 76% of adults.
There are currently two methods used to create a mobile friendly online experience, Responsive Web Design and Mobile-First...
Introducing Responsive Web Design
This approach to design is often created for the largest device first and then adapted for tablet and mobile. This involves designing a desktop site initially, then optimising it to fit the screen and resolution of other devices such as tablets and mobiles. It is called responsive design as it is programmed to respond to the size of the screen. This means that the site structure and the content remain the same on a desktop, tablet or mobile but will change to fit the screen and resolution. The benefits to this approach compared to Mobile First are;
- Only one design is needed and is adapted to suit all devices saving time and money
- It allows a more creative design
- Marketers can include a higher volume of content
Whilst the majority of responsive design works seamlessly on mobile phones there are increasing reports from mobile users that the information takes too long to load.
With consumer’s expectations of speed of service, sites that take too long to load run the risk of losing the visitor to competing websites.
A design that flips the process around, designing for, mobile first. It lends itself to a more linear structure which means designers and marketers are forced to create a hierarchy for their content.
This approach works well with changes in consumer’s online behaviour as they tend to
- make quicker decisions on whether to stay on websites
- be more adept at searching for the product or service they want
- skim read content to find key information
- shut out online advertising
This forces marketing and design teams to prioritise and streamline the content, highlighting key messages in order of importance.
For businesses and organisations with a broader customer demographic, the Mobile-First approach may not be so suitable as they need to reach the 40% of prospects still using desktop. However, for those wanting to attract a younger audience who are more likely to invest in products and services from their mobile it could provide a more strategic approach.
For businesses and organisations, the challenge will be to decide,
- whether to continue using responsive web design in a ‘catch all’ approach
- to invest in the future decision makers and go for mobile first design
- or to design for both audience’s using a combination of mobile first and mobile responsive designs.
Using a combination of Mobile-First and Responsive Web Design requires additional time and investment (it is likely you will need two URLs as well as two designs) the approach you take is likely to depend on your target audience, marketing strategy and budget.
How Can We Help?
We create high quality Responsive Web and Mobile-First designs and email marketing campaigns, ideal to reach your target audience. If you are considering your options and want to discuss the approach in more detail, we are happy to talk.
Call: 01507 607783