Web & Digital Design

Mobile-First Web Design

by 

Jonathan Cook

Leaving mobile design as an afterthought simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

Websites have always been built for desktop first. But with the unrelenting increase in mobile device usage, we’ve had to adapt. Designing for desktop, and leaving mobile as an afterthought simply won’t cut it anymore. Thus, introducing the emerging strategy that calls to design for mobiles first. How is it done? Here’s all you must do to master the new approach.

01. Make Content Count

The biggest issue a website encounters is delivering content. It’s simply impossible to effectively deliver everything you’d find on a desktop via a smaller screen.

For this reason, the mobile-first approach requires you cut back on content and only deliver what counts. When planning this out it’s important to consider the visual hierarchy of your information - what should be seen first? Wireframing will be your favourite tool for this. 

02. Go Minimal

There’s a reason the design style is trending in 2020… Minimalist websites are beautiful, soothing to look at, and make consuming content easier. Repeat after me: less is more.

To go minimalist for mobile you need to strip back any busyness that might complicate your website. This should impact structure as much as it does the decorative elements such as colour scheme. Here are some quick tips to simplify:

  1. Use more white space
  2. Reduce the amount of content; both copy and image
  3. Don’t create columns that are greater than two
  4. Make text big and headings BIGGER
  5. Choose simple fonts
  6. Enlarge touchpoints
  7. Keep your navigation bar simple and straightforward
  8. Reduce the number of website pages

03. Optimise Call To Actions (CTAs)

It takes longer to scroll down websites on mobile devices because the content is elongated. And fun fact: no one scrolls to the end. So, if you want mobile users to convert, you’ll need to lift up CTAs higher on your website.

But getting people to click is only the first step... Having them convert after hitting the landing page is where it really counts. The problem? People forget to optimise landing pages for mobile. 

What this neglect will do is send mobile users who’ve clicked CTAs to off-centred, unreadable, and impossible to navigate web pages. Such poor performance will almost certainly deter them from converting. So, to avoid the issue, ensure to optimise all active landing pages. 

04. Make Communication Painless

Finding a way to get in touch is perhaps the most common struggle for web browsers on mobile devices. And what happens when they can’t find contact info? They give up and go somewhere else. A big loss for businesses but luckily one that’s easily fixed. Here are two ways you can:

  1. Place contact details in all of the usual places; in your top navigation, your popup menu, footer, and contact page.
  2. Integrate a chatbot that lets users quickly talk to a real person from your team. However, don’t force this upon users, wait until they reach the contact page to position the live chat.

05. Test Performance & Adjust

It doesn’t matter how carefully you design a website mobile-first. The website will always need to be tested regularly across multiple device types. Particularly due to the constant release of new and updated mobile devices. We suggest you test every few months.

When it comes to testing, ensure to interact with the website in every way possible. If it’s designed well, you’re unlikely to notice anything beyond the business. But if there are any aspects designed poorly, you’ll pick up on them immediately. 

Need a Hand? Let’s Talk

Fortunately for website designers, this new approach doesn’t ask for grand amounts of change. It’s more about shifting your focus to the mobile-user experience and considering the restrictions of smaller screens.

That being said, it is easier said than done to create a truly enjoyable mobile experience and can take years of experience to master. If you have or are looking to build a mobile-first website, we’d love to talk with you about how we can help.

Jonathan Cook

Since founding Neon Hive in 2015, Jonathan continues to work passionately on both client and agency-side projects. With extensive industry experience and two first class honours bachelor degrees across finance and computer science, Jonathan brings a strategic and results driven mindset to helping clients transform and grow.

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