Saying that the world has gone mobile is needless. People are mobile and need to access the things they value conveniently on the go. The average 21st-century person lives very dynamically, trying to make ends meet. So, these users have no time to carry or use desktops to access the internet or other applications and perform the majority of activities from smartphones.
For website and app designers, going mobile and prioritizing it in design is essential. In fact, the mobile revolution is happening so fast that by 2025, 72.5% of people will access the internet solely with their smartphones. Therefore, every designer should focus on where their users are: their mobile devices.
This post focuses on the mobile-first design of apps and software. It explores the benefits of using the mobile-first method for website owners, designers, and end users (if you’re interested in how Eleken does this, learn about us here). Keep reading to benefit from this modern software creation approach more.
Mobile-First Vs. Mobile-Friendly
Credit: from Parashifttech
Let’s start by differentiating mobile-first from mobile friendliness because many people confuse these two experiences. Most sites calling themselves mobile-first are actually mobile-friendly. A mobile-friendly site is designed for big screens and then scaled down to fit smaller ones. Such websites are primarily created for desktop use, but minor adjustments make them fit and work well on mobile screens.
Conversely, a mobile-first design or website is primarily built for mobile gadgets before scaling up to accommodate desktops. So, the difference lies in the primary focus and starting point: mobile or desktop.
Now, with this clear difference, examining the benefits of mobile-first is beneficial. Below are the advantages of designing websites and apps in line with this approach.
It Makes Content King
Content is primary in every design work. Websites and apps need content to enable users to learn how to navigate and get answers to their questions. Thus, designers should remember that mobile gadgets have smaller screen sizes and bandwidth. This limited screen size can cause designers to prioritize things incorrectly.
Without a mobile-first approach, a designer can be tempted to strip away some extraneous elements to focus on the essentials. However, some of these components aren’t necessary for mobile design. Embracing this approach lets designers determine what to retain and scrap off based on user needs because content depends on user preferences and use patterns.
It Prioritizes Search Engine Ranking
Search engine prioritization is another benefit of using the mobile-first approach. Google already listed mobile-first as one of its default ranking algorithms in 2016. This requirement means that Google’s smartphone bots crawl such websites first and analyze the mobile-friendly content to index web pages, snippets, and data structure.
This way, websites that adhere to this ranking requirement are more likely to gain higher SEO rankings than those without mobile-first functionality. Here is a verbatim citation of this statement from Google:
“Getting good, relevant answers when you search shouldn’t depend on what device you’re using. You should get the best answer possible, whether you’re on a phone, desktop, or tablet. […] We started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches. […] We’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”
Abiding by this rule helps you create websites that rank well. What does this design mean for you? It means building a good reputation with your customers because nobody wants to waste money on a project that won’t rank favorably in search engines.
It Creates the Right Focus
Using the mobile-first approach helps designers focus on the essentials a user needs to navigate a mobile device. This method ensures a web designer includes necessary user interface elements. Eventually, users interact with websites on mobile platforms without distractions.
Improved User Experience
The mobile-first method gives users the best experience because it focuses only on essential content and user needs. It removes all flashy widgets, fillers, and vanity features. Since this approach demands more usability research, it ensures users get the right kind of content in the right measure.
Increased Scalability Across Various Devices
Scalability is another dimension a mobile-first approach addresses. Designing a website in this format gives you an easy time adjusting things upwards to meet desktop needs. Remember, mobile-first doesn’t seek to eliminate desktop use.
Therefore, this approach ensures that the core mobile features remain there even after scaling the web pages up to desktop device screens. It gives a designer an easy time determining what is essential for users on the two platforms without losing anything on either side of the divide.
Decreased Bounce Rate on Mobile-Friendly Sites
Decreased bounce rate is another benefit of building mobile-first apps and websites. Usually, the average bounce rate stands between 20% and 30% above desktop rates. This happens because mobile site versions aren’t mobile-friendly, prompting users to bounce away.
Also, the conversion rates are lower for costlier items because mobile searchers usually look up stuff quickly while on the go. Designing websites with mobile users in mind significantly reduces bounce rates because of improved user experiences. For instance, such websites are easy to navigate and allow users to get what they need. They also load faster because some of the elements in the desktop version aren’t there.
Improved website performance is another benefit of building websites and products with mobile users in mind. This issue is so critical that research shows that improving a mobile retail website’s speed by 0.1 seconds improves conversion by 8.4%. A fast-loading site performs well regarding SEO rankings and overall usability. So, designing sites using mobile-first benefits users, site owners, and designers.
The mobile revolution is here to stay. Therefore, website and app owners and designers should partner to give their target users the best experiences. Using the mobile-first approach is the surest way to ensure that users get value for their time and money. Follow this philosophy in your development efforts, and your projects are sure to enjoy better conversions and online visibility.