Did you know that 61% of searchers are very likely to contact a business if they have a mobile-friendly website?
That, along with the fact that over half of all internet traffic is occurring on mobile, are reasons enough why your business should consider going mobile-first.
In this article, we discuss the benefits of mobile-first design and five best practices for making your website perfectly compatible with any smartphone device.
What Is Mobile-First Design And Why Is It Important?
Mobile-first web design begins with prototyping a website for smartphones. It places the most important elements of the website’s content at the center and adapts its layout to larger laptop and desktop devices.
This creates a more coherent website experience across all platforms, because mobile-first design ensures that a website is responsive to devices of any size.
Adding features and functionalities at a later stage of the website’s lifetime is also easier when starting by condensing a website’s content to smaller mobile screens.
- Gives mobile users what they seek: Mobile-first design understands the needs of users searching on mobile devices and delivers quick, legible, understandable information.
- Improves SEO: Google favors websites that are optimized for mobile devices. Mobile-first design makes smartphones a priority, boosting website relevance and ranking in search engine results.
- Makes navigation simpler: Mobile-first websites usually have a stripped-down main navigation manu that contains only a few main website pages, while hamburger menus make space for content.
- Puts core content at the forefront: Mobile-first websites provide users the very essence of the content they need and they do so in a clear, concise way that does not distract from it.
- Saves money: Mobile-first websites that sell products or services may generate higher than average revenue because they engage qualified prospects that increasingly use mobile devices to look for solutions they need. This provides good ROI, even with initial high budget requirements and costs.
Principle #1: Keep It Simple
The point of mobile-first web design is to make the user experience on both smartphones and desktop devices more enjoyable and convenient.
By shedding unnecessary functionalities and other elements and focusing on just the essentials, web designers are able to keep the mobile-first user interface simple and intuitive.
This is important because of the way users navigate mobile websites – with their fingers – which is not as precise or convenient as with a mouse or touchpad.
For a well-optimized user experience on smartphone screens, it’s important to keep everything very simple and easy to reach with a thumb or finger.
When designing a mobile-first website, think about what elements are truly necessary and which are not. For example:
- Reduce the total number of website pages to a minimum
- Keep the amount of main navigation menu links low
- Keep your eForms simple by asking fewer question in subscription, purchase and contact forms
- Use white space for better visibility and user focus
- Create websites that use two columns of content, max
- Use simple, large typography
- Create clean lines and use wide borders
Principle #2: Use Appropriate Graphic And Vector Design Solutions
Graphic design is a very important aspect of mobile websites as well as desktop websites. A good design is a signal of a trustworthy business – businesses that invest in their design outperform those who do not by up to 200%!
Distractions and poor design are even more costly on mobile websites. Miami web design company Digital Silk suggests these graphic design best practices for mobile-first:
- Bold shapes
- Clean lines
- Photographs that are optimized for high loading speeds
- Contrasting color schemes
- Dark mode
Principle #3: Make Call-To-Action Buttons Bold And Prominent
The purpose of call-to-action (CTA) buttons is to capture prospects’ interest and lead them toward conversion into customers.
If you run a digital agency, you need CTAs that maximize the potential of every visitor you get.
CTAs that are poorly designed and unoptimized for mobile devices may cause your business to miss out on leads and sales due to issues with usability.
For instance, you may have lead generating forms that are difficult to fill out.
To avoid this, follow these best practices for creating mobile-friendly CTA buttons:
- Make them big enough and use vibrant colors so they stand out on smaller screens
- The first CTA should be above the fold so users don’t have to scroll down to see it
- Use brief but attention-grabbing copy to nudge users toward conversion
- Use multiple CTAs throughout the page and throughout the website, but have them lead to one specific conversion points
Principle #4: Ensure Contact Info Is Easy To Find
Website visitors and prospective customers that arrive to your website via mobile devices are looking for quick, easy-to-digest information and clear guidelines on how to solve their pain points.
They are not likely to browse your website for prolonged periods of time like your desktop visitors. All of the vital information they are looking for – including how to contact you – should be noticeable immediately.
Prioritize your contact info by placing it visibly on a mobile site to boost your conversion rates. The best practice for this is to place a Contact Us link, a phone number or an email address at the top of the page, above the fold.
Also, having a live chat agent on your website provides an immediate point of contact and, possibly, a direct solution to your visitors.
Principle #5: Improve Your Page Load Speeds
Lastly, it is absolutely vital that your mobile website loads fast, because as many as 40% of visitors will leave if it takes more than three seconds for a website to load.
Good loading speeds help with user retention, are one of the crucial elements of keeping visitors engaged and, lastly – they are a Google ranking factor!
In order to get your mobile website “up to speed,” so to speak, follow these best practices:
- Minify HTTP by streamlining the number of page elements, combining multiple CSS files into one
- Enable image compression and reduce image file sizes
- Enable browser caching
- Minimize redirects
- Use gZip compression and reduce file sizes
- Update the PHP version
- Improve mobile latency through mobile CDN
- Load the content above the first fold
- Disable excessive plugins an addons
- Use a premium hosting plan