We have leapfrogged almost overnight from a digital first to mobile first multi-screen world.
Brands – no matter their size – can no longer afford to ignore the mobile market. Users aren’t just browsing on mobile devices – they are now finding content, sharing it socially and completing purchases at a rate that is increasingly on par with their older desktop siblings – and this is now having significant implications on website design.
Where responsive design was the new frontier not more than 18 months ago – most progressive digital studios have adopted a mobile first design mentality. Instead of designing websites for desktop users and degrading the experience and functionality for mobile – they are now starting with the mobile screen as their primary palette and adding layers to ‘dilute’ the experience for desktop and larger screens.
Putting mobile at the front of the website design process leads to sites that are simpler, faster, more usable and – most importantly – more accessible to your customers. Here are the five primary keys to a smart, mobile first design strategy.
With users – and Google – demanding sub-one-second page loads – speed is a critical component of mobile first design methodology. As a result, you will be seeing a lot more sites going to a flat, 2D design with single blocks of color and streamlined images.
Navigation is a major consideration for mobile website design, so we’ll be seeing more brands using fixed menu bars and infinite scrolls for continuous access and loading of content…and of course the ‘hamburger’ menu with three horizontal lines is now almost ubiquitous.
Since the days of newspapers – type has always been a good way to show the visual hierarchy of page elements. But in a mobile first world, readability is critical, so many brands are using a wider range of larger fonts that better render text as easily visible on smaller screens.
A desire to cater to mobile users has led to a variety of new layout trends, including tile or grid-based layouts where the content shifts to accommodate different dimensions, displaying single or multiple tiles depending on the screen size. Parallax scrolling to make page elements shift or disappear is also seen as a cool and sophisticated trend in mobile design.
The last – but far from least – consideration is usability, which brings everything together to optimize how much content can actually be consumed on a smaller screen through gestures, taps, swipes and clicks to get to more content faster. This is huge push for the Google search engine algorithm, so companies whose audiences are coming in via their mobile devices need to understand how important mobile usability has become.
Don’t let your content get left behind in a cloud of mobile dust – or worse yet – your brand annihilated by ‘Mobilegeddon’…don’t be last to mobile first.