What Is the Mobile-First Approach?

What Is the Mobile-First Approach?

Mobile-First, an important User Experience (UX) approach, is simply a website strategy where mobile devices are prioritized. But what does Mobile-First mean exactly? Why should mobile devices be prioritized? How did mobile devices become so popular? We have answered all of these questions in our blog post.

How is the “Mobile-First” approach born?

In order to address the logic behind the Mobile-First approach, it would be useful to look at mobile device usage development first. The Internet experience is originally introduced to our lives with desktop computers. Although we used to lack the awareness we have today, desktop computers eliminated the time restriction but not the space-related one. It is because users' experience with the Internet remained restricted to the location where desktop computers were.

Soon, the rapid advancement of technology brought mobile devices that we could carry in our pockets to our lives. This time, we got rid of both time and space restrictions, and users started to access the websites they would like to visit via their mobile devices. This is the exact point where users started to have different expectations from their experience as the device they preferred for their website experience changed. In other words, users who access a website originally designed for desktops via their mobile devices wanted to have an experience different than merely viewing the same website on a smaller screen. This brought out the need to design a separate version for mobile devices and desktop versions developed for websites.

Today, the digitalization of both the dynamics of daily life and how we do things brought along the need for being accessible, i.e., online, anytime anywhere. Therefore, mobile devices that enable us to achieve this became popular rapidly, which resulted in the prioritization of mobile devices from design to functions. This is the journey through which the “Mobile-First” approach is established.

What Is Mobile-First?

Mobile-First is an approach to website design and user experience, which puts mobile devices in the focus of digital strategies and applications.

In other words, the Mobile-First approach is a strategy covering the mobile user experience.

Mobile user experience is different from the desktop-web user experience that we can identify as traditional today. Desktop-web user experience is primarily designed with an immobile screen along with keyboard and mouse interactions in mind. On the other hand, mobile user experience is based on the user's mobility and a wide variety of factors that can vary depending on the user's context, such as finger movements, taps, and behaviors on a limited screen area. The aim is to design an experience in line with the digital habits and expectations to help all structures that want to reach their target audience in the fastest and most accurate way be easily accessible for users, i.e., potential customers, and increase satisfaction.

Considering that mobile devices have become the primary means of accessing websites in the digital era we are in and are used to meet various needs from shopping to gaming, from socializing to accessing information, we can easily say that the Mobile-First approach is the golden key of sustainability for organizations of all sizes.

What should we pay attention in designs based on mobile-first approach? 

The Mobile-First approach does not mean only creating the mobile user experience. At the core of the approach is to design a mobile experience in line with the user's context. There are certain aspects to be considered in website designs created with the Mobile-First approach in this scope. These can be listed as follows:

Know your visitors and their problems

To design a perfect experience for mobile users, you need to know your target visitor group very well. To this end, you need to consider several variables such as the devices they access your website, what interests them the most in the website they visit, how they interact and behave on the website. All these are necessary to identify the problems they have with their experience and develop a design where they will never face the same problems.

Prefer short but to the point content

Content is critical in the Mobile-First approach. Users should be provided only with the content they need, the content should be concise, and unnecessary details that are eye-straining or time-consuming should be avoided. It is because the user's context, i.e., the medium that has caused the user to access the website on a mobile device, requires the user to get fast results and find what is needed as quickly as possible.

Prefer a simple design

Using a design as simple as possible for your website's mobile version is vital in enabling users to easily access the content, product, or service they need. To achieve this, you need to use as few pages as possible, have only the necessary links in the menu, and include in the design only the items you find necessary. You should avoid using content that is distracting or non-essential, like ads or pop-ups.

Always keep the loading speed high

The longer it takes a page to load, the higher the users' chance to leave the page. Therefore, keeping the loading speed high and eliminating the factors that decrease your website's loading speed determine your website's performance. At this point, it is important to compress the images used in the design, to use a CDN that loads the content of the website from the cache closest to the user, and to use the secure HTTPS protocol that not only ensures the security of the website but also speeds it up and contributes to SEO.

Make sure that your website is displayed properly

For a decent mobile user experience, all kinds of content, such as texts, photos, maps, etc., should be easy to read and view. For this, it is of great importance that the website's mobile version is displayed properly.

4 Benefits of The Mobile-First Approach

It provides more conversion

According to recent studies, mobile conversion rates are 64% higher than the average desktop conversion rates. Keeping mobile-friendliness at the forefront by adopting a Mobile-First approach helps you focus on your website's mobile user experience, which increases your conversion rates and hence your profits.

It helps you avoid losing conversion

Users expect to get results as quickly as possible on websites they visit. Plus, if they have to wait for a page to load, they may even choose to use that time to look for answers on different pages instead of waiting on the page. The studies on this matter show that even a 1-second delay can cause a serious loss of 7% in conversions. At this point, the Mobile-First approach helps you avoid loss in conversion with short download time and fast access to content.

It lets you achieve a gradual development

When you decide on designing a website, focusing on the mobile in the first step allows you to lay a solid foundation. You start with designing the experience on the smallest screen and focusing on the essential functions, taking care of your brand and your users' basic needs. This way, the additions you will make to adapt the design to larger screens will only include a few touches to improve the user experience, and you will be able to achieve a gradual and steady development.

It helps you focus on the benefits

One of the Mobile-First approach's main aims is to provide users with the most important resources in the fastest way possible. To ensure this, it is necessary to eliminate unnecessary or distracting factors. In other words, what is needed is a user-friendly interface design that is of quality and focuses on meeting the needs. The efforts you make to serve this purpose will help you adopt a benefit-oriented perspective and make it easier for you to see the bigger picture beyond details.