Mobile-first is a website design approach begins the design process according to how it will appear on a mobile device. As these devices have the smallest screens, it is easier to design your website from this starting point in order to ensure the user experience is perfect on any device.
This is because it is easier to design a website that is successfully seamless on all devices by starting with the smallest, then expanding the page layouts for the bigger screens of desktop and laptop computers.
How Mobile-First Design Became Important
The concept has been around for over ten years, with Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt announcing at a conference in 2010 that his company would be taking a mobile-first approach in their own design practices.
Schmidt explained the reasoning behind the decision, saying: “Mobile design is more limited. After all, you are designing for a smaller screen and can only fit so many elements into it. That means you choose only what is most important – what your users need the most – while ignoring everything else.”
He added that you should provide your users with other elements as you expand the design, but that this mobile-first process lets you know exactly what you need to focus on.
Why Mobile-First Design is So Important
Mobile internet usage already surpassed desktop usage back in 2016. Not only are people using the internet more via their mobile devices, but they are also spending more time on the internet with them as well.
According to the latest internet usage data, mobile internet usage increased 222% between 2013 and 2019, and that includes a slight flattening of the curve during the last couple of years. The upward curve seemed to have settled down and hovers a little above 50% between 2018 and 2019, but the advance of 5G is likely to cause another surge of mobile internet use.
Mobiles are already the primary device used by the majority of people to access the internet. The dominance of the mobile is only going to increase, so mobile-first website design has never been more important.
How Mobile-First Design Helps SEO
Another important part of mobile-first web design is the fact that Google’s search ranking algorithm favors mobile-friendly websites for searches made from mobile devices.
Google started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches in 2015, and have rolled out updates to mobile search results that increase the effect of the ranking signal. Google said their aim is to help users find more relevant and mobile-friendly pages when they use the internet via their mobiles.
In July 2019, Google then made the switch to mobile-first indexing by default. Therefore, Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the websites content for indexing and ranking.
This is all part of Google’s determination to reward websites that provide a good user experience. The fact that most user experiences of the internet are now happening via mobile means a mobile-first development strategy is one of the most important design elements you can implement for your own website.
If you are interested in designing and developing a website that focuses on mobile-first, please contact our team on +1 800 974 7219 ext. 202. Alternatively, complete the form here and a member of our team will be in contact with you to discuss your individual requirements.