Everything You Must Know About Mobile-First Responsive Design

Want to learn about mobile-first responsive design? Read the article to discover its benefits and best practices for building mobile-first responsive design.

Web design
June 5, 2023

Mobiles are shaping the future of business. And the company that wants to scale needs to optimize mobile users' experiences. It includes building mobile-first responsive design. Learn what it is and some of the main benefits of mobile-first.

What is mobile-first responsive design? Simply put, it means creating a website for the smallest screens and then adapting it to fit larger devices. Before mobile traffic exploded, this was usually done the other way around, you’d start from the desktop version and adapt for mobile. However, since mobile devices can bring a ton of traffic and conversions, it makes sense to adopt the mobile-first approach.

We are going to dive into its advantages and suggest some steps on how to design how to create a responsive design for mobile.

6 Benefits of Mobile-First Design

A large percentage of web traffic is coming from mobiles, and the number is going to increase. Research suggests there will be 7.49 billion mobile device users worldwide by 2025 who will try to find content and research products through their smartphones.

Any company that strives for growth must prioritize a mobile-first responsive design. In this case, web designers and developer teams start designing for mobiles before creating any layout for desktops.

Here are some of the key benefits of this approach.

1. Drives more mobile traffic

One of the most significant perks of designing mobile-first is that you drive more mobile traffic. Statistics prove that 55% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. So, this factor has a significant effect on how businesses get web traffic.

Driving mobile traffic will help companies reach consumers more effectively. It is also an excellent tactic to accomplish various business goals; for example, if you want more people to download your app, a mobile-first design can be extremely beneficial.

statstia smartphone use.jpeg
Source: Statista

2. Saves you time and money

If you want your website to look good on different screens, a popular solution is to develop multiple versions of a website, each designed to render well on a specific screen size. Creating and maintaining multiple websites like this can be time-consuming and expensive.

Maintaining only one version of the mobile design still demands your resources and time, but in the long run, it can be a profitable and effective solution compared to responsive websites, especially if the majority of your traffic comes from mobile.

3. Increases the website's loading speed

Time is crucial for providing a positive experience to your mobile visitors. They will leave web pages that demand more than a few seconds to load. Moreover, by integrating tactics on how to design responsive mobile-first, you can enhance your web page loading speed. A website that offers high-quality products should include effortless and easy navigation for mobile visitors to create an impression of a credible company. Prioritizing website speed for mobile visitors can help to increase conversion rate and also help rank on search engines.

4. Reduces bounce rates and increases conversion rates

One of the main goals for every marketer is to avoid a high bounce rate. A responsive mobile website provides a great user experience for the visitor. This way, users stay on the website longer and discover different landing pages. And if your business doesn’t follow the right steps on how to design responsive mobile-first, then you will face challenges in keeping mobile visitors engaged.

The next is trying to increase conversion rates from mobiles. The reason is that mobile users are typically looking for products when they need to have access to them as quickly as possible.

5. Boosts SEO efforts

Designing your website for mobile first and understanding the differences between mobile-first vs responsive design can guarantee a healthy bounce rate and increase conversion rate. And as a great outcome, it will help you get higher search rankings.

Search engines prioritize these websites and promote them to mobile users. Those that do not meet these terms are demoted and therefore suffer from less visibility.

6. Improves user experience

A positive user experience is a significant force that can increase customer loyalty and convince them to choose your products over competitors. Moreover, it can help you understand all important touchpoints of the customer journey and make necessary changes.

When you enrich your website with ease of navigation for mobile visitors, potential clients smoothly browse your website, which increases the chances they will decide to purchase. If they remember your website’s positive mobile UX, you can even use things like SMS alerts later on, to let customers know about any new products and lead them to your website.

Source: Dexatel

Best practices on how to design responsive mobile-first

After explaining the differences between mobile-first vs responsive design, and diving into the benefits of mobile-first, it’s time to define essential steps that will help you create an effective mobile-first design.

1. Prioritize content

It is no surprise that content plays a significant role in any digital marketing strategy. Creating quality and engaging content can be the key to success. And since creating mobile-first responsive design focuses on simplicity, you should make that content concise and strict to the point. This way, you're making sure to avoid anything else that may distract or overwhelm the users.

The primary goal of this method is to highlight all the necessary content, like buttons, CTAs, and copy, to make them accessible and visible.

2. Deliver intuitive navigation

Intuitive navigation plays the most important role in delivering an effortless user experience on mobile devices. You can leverage features like navigation drawers to display secondary elements of the website. This will help users to find the necessary information easily. Moreover, when you focus on building a mobile-first design approach, you have to also add content in an intuitive manner. In addition to that, you should have clear and consistent labels to deliver intuitive navigation.

3. Avoid disruptive popups

Popups remain one of the controversial topics in digital marketing, as marketers continue to debate on that topic. Although they can be useful, many people find them annoying and decide to leave the website after seeing a popup. So, when creating a mobile-first responsive design, you should focus on what's important for users. And also provide them with the things they are looking for in the first place.

The first stage is to ensure that the popup displays information that is essential for the user to read. Besides that, they should also be easy to close. Also, ensure pop-ups don't influence page load time. Having unnecessary popups and ads taking over their screen will likely disrupt their experience on your website, resulting in a negative customer experience.

4. Make CTAs consistent and visible

Call to action has the power to finalize your campaigns' success and drive the desired action. Therefore, creating an effective, strong call to action button is a must for the mobile-first website.

Otherwise, you risk losing quality leads and missing your chance to turn your visitors into customers.

Your job is to include visually compelling and impactful CTA when creating mobile-first responsive design. As a CTA button, other graphic mobile-first elements enhance user experience and increase lead generation and also grow sales as well. Choose the design elements, such as colors and icons, carefully to create CTA buttons that are visible and impactful but also fit into the rest of the website organically.

cta hootsuite.png
Source: Wishpond

5. Test and again test

Testing is one of the crucial steps that can give you insight into how you are in any process and what improvements you need to make. In the case of having a website with a responsive design, you need to test it before presenting it to the users.

Check whether crucial and important parts are working well, and you can deliver user experiences for mobile customers. Analytics will help you determine which elements perform better and in which area you should focus your efforts. Also, during testing, collect feedback from different resources, as they can be a valuable source for enhancing your workflow.

Don’t forget that mobile-first means adopting this approach from the get-go. Hire experienced developers on a job board because you really shouldn’t risk a sloppy DIY solution. And if you need help with mobile web design, there are plenty of awesome, affordable solutions, such as unlimited graphic design services.

To sum up

Mobile has a significant influence on people's lives, and as a result, it shifts the way businesses work. And regardless of how good your services or products are, your businesses need to build a website design that is primarily built for small devices. Companies should give mobile visitors a positive experience to convert them into customers.

After answering the question “what is mobile-first responsive design”, we have discussed several reasons for creating a responsive design and the advantages businesses can get thanks to the concept. Then outlined best practices can guide you in creating it. As soon as you start the process, your business will skyrocket.

Discover an array of captivating voices and expert insights as our guest writers grace the pages of the Manypixels blog. From seasoned industry veterans to emerging talents, their thought-provoking articles will inspire and inform, enriching your reading experience.

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