Every company needs to be familiar with mobile first website design or responsive web design. It is not really a new invention. Responsive website designs have been around for over a decade now. Most companies are being advised by website designers and internet marketers to have a mobile first approach, but not many may be fully aware of what it exactly means. Let us first understand what a mobile first approach means and then we’ll talk about its significance.
What is a Mobile First Approach?
A mobile first approach is a policy wherein all the steps a company takes to promote itself and to make its presence felt in the real and virtual world would be more focused on exploring mobile devices as opposed to conventional devices. For instance, ten years ago a company may have chosen a website suited for desktop versions and laptop screen size. The website would be designed bearing in mind the features of internet browsers available on desktops and laptops. Today, such an approach would not be effective in the world of mobile phones and tablets. A company website must be designed in a manner that fits onto mobile browsers just as easily as it does on desktop and laptop browsers. It is not only about the browser but, also the size of the display or screen. Desktops and laptops have much larger displays than mobile devices, be it smart phones or tablets.
A mobile first design approach is not limited to the official website or ecommerce site. The approach demands that companies invest in mobile ads, that the focus is more on apps than traditional blogs and that the engagement with the audience is primarily through social media and other mobile based mediums than conventional avenues. Even search engine optimization has to be strategized with a mobile first approach.
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Significance of a Mobile First Approach
Almost ten years ago in 2008, many experts had predicted that mobile data usage would surpass desktop data usage by the year 2014. The prediction was not wrong. There have been fluctuations in the figures over some months in and around 2014 but according to the data available till the end of 2017, it is absolutely clear that mobile data usage has indeed overtaken desktop data usage. Mobile devices are the source for more than 52% of all online traffic in the world. This simply means that more people are using their mobiles to search for websites and to engage in other online activities than those using desktop for the same purposes.
Since there is no doubt that more people are having a mobile experience when connecting to the internet, it is inevitable for companies to have a mobile first approach. However, the significance is also reiterated by the negative impact of not having a mobile first approach. It is no secret that traditional websites are not mobile friendly. Conventional designs do not fit into mobile browsers and they look horrible on the small screens of smartphones and tablets. Would you want your website to be inaccessible on mobile devices or be quaintly displayed?
It is imperative to have a responsive website design, if not a mobile first approach, so the website can be pleasantly viewed on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The other major negative consequence is the absolute exclusion from mobile search results if a company does not have a verified mobile presence. Both Google and Bing have already prioritized websites that have mobile versions to be placed above conventional websites on their mobile search result pages. The search engine result pages on your desktop or laptop would be different from the same on your smartphones and tablets. This is regardless of the identical search criteria. In other words, if you don’t have a mobile first approach, then the mobile search engine rank of your website will suffer and your site may not find a place on the first few pages.
Companies are creating ecommerce sites or online stores specifically for the purpose of targeting the mobile user. All major brands in every industry are spending more money on mobile advertising than conventional internet advertising targeting desktops and laptops. It is imperative for your organization to have a mobile first approach if your online presence has to be relevant, user focused, and visible.