The world has gone mobile. But you knew that.
Not long ago, people had to use a desktop computer with its sizable monitor if they wanted to have a productive and satisfying online experience. Then we figured out how to enable the same type of interaction on more compact laptop computers, creating the beginnings of mobility in the process. From there, we set our sights on tablets and smartphones, and truly set users free to navigate the internet and visit websites from wherever they are.
Or, at least, that’s the goal.
In some cases today, users are trying to have a mobile experience on a website that’s not designed for it. The result? Irritation, frustration—and if a business doesn’t address the situation—customers and potential customers taking their business elsewhere.
That’s why adopting a mobile-first attitude regarding your website is crucial. Simply enabling visitors to access and navigate it reasonably well isn’t enough. You’ve got to update your existing website or create your brand new site in a way that makes it easy and intuitive for people to find what they need and enjoy their visit.
Mobile-first web design is an approach in which user experience designers start by envisioning a website as it will be displayed on smartphones and other mobile devices. In doing so, they employ strategies that will streamline navigation. For example, they seek to minimize the amount of scrolling, zooming, and panning left or right that users will have to do.
They also work to optimize the size of the text and images displayed, while also making elements like buttons easy to use. It’s a balancing act, of course, as there’s only so much “real estate” to work with. The good news is that once you’ve created a positive user experience on the smallest of devices, you can be confident that it will be equally rewarding on larger screens.
Theoretically, once the team executes the intended user experience on a mobile device, scaling up to larger screens is a lot easier. The push to mobile first is backed by the significant year-over-year increase in mobile visitors to websites due to the increasing usage of mobile devices by the general public.
A companion concept to mobile-first design is what’s called responsive design. The goal of responsive design is to enable a website to scale gracefully from small mobile devices to large monitors and everything in between.
This ability is vital since users will be accessing your site from a wide variety of devices. This fact is, perhaps, driven home most clearly in a situation like a business meeting where the presenter is navigating a website on their laptop even as one attendee calls up the site on their tablet so they can do their own poking around and another does the same on their smartphone. If any of them says, “I can’t find what you’re showing us,” that’s a serious problem.
Successfully executed responsive design makes sure that doesn’t happen. Along with traditional devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, users are increasingly surfing the web on devices such as smart televisions and watches.
Beyond the high-level benefit of creating a positive user experience with mobile-first and responsive design, there are several other advantages—both for website users and the companies that are looking to attract and engage them.
The use of mobile devices to access the internet surpassed the use of desktop computers in 2016 and the trend toward smartphones and tablets as the primary tools for researching and purchasing products and services surely will continue. Is your mobile strategy keeping up?
It’s important to note that mobile-first websites are not mobile apps. Every business needs a mobile-first website for the reasons noted above. But mobile apps aren’t necessary unless users need to have a specific type of functionality on their phones for some reason.
In other words, if your website is sufficiently mobile-friendly, you probably don’t need a mobile app. Users can simply access your site on their mobile device and take actions or complete tasks there.
As you think about how to create an engaging mobile experience for your customers and prospects, keep these tips in mind:
The world has gone mobile. Be sure that your business isn’t standing still!
To build customer loyalty, your brand needs to deliver cutting edge customer experience before, during, and post checkout.
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