The World (Wide Web) is Mobile, Are You?
Aside from history, why do we use “desktop first” practices? From a designer’s perspective, desktops mean maximum screen real estate. All this space can make your design work psychologically more rewarding, and perhaps even more forgiving.
From a developer’s perspective, choosing to comply with mobile-specific requirements, such as catering to mobile-specific features like local storage and service workers, adds complexity to the work and often requires taking time to learn new skills.
If you’re a seller, you know that you need to appeal to your customers from both rational and emotional angles. With desktop screens, you’ve got a lot more space to stir emotions and create awe-inspiring interfaces.
You’ve probably heard that millennials are a “mobile-only” generation. In fact, according to Statista , there are nearly five billion mobile phone users worldwide in 2020. Mobile device web usage has doubled in the last five years and has already surpassed the share of other devices in 2018. On some websites, the share can be as high as 85%.
In light of these statistics, designing and developing websites with a “mobile-first” strategy is more than justified. In fact, we actually assert that “desktop-last” is the forward thinker’s point of view.
Now, let’s walk through the steps you can take toward modernizing your practices.
Start by researching and understanding the expectations and behavior of your website’s target audience. Keep a close eye on the mobile adoption rate and its changes in your websites. Remember that the demand for mobile web UX is not just organic; an improved offering also creates demand.
Be mindful of making assumptions based on history alone, as the world changes rapidly. Basing your web strategy on statistics alone may be hazardous and lead to stagnation. Keep checking your audience’s engagement for the clearest picture.
Avoid being blinded by “screen space emotion” of the desktop, and encourage your team to do the same. Instead of depending on the comfort of past experiences, strive for objectivity based on facts as your audience grows and changes. This may require finding a new software design and development partner who supports and elevates your mobile vision.
It is not enough to simply be mobile-friendly, your site content must be “mobile first.” This means favoring the mobile experience when setting the KPI’s of your website, and using the mobile phone as your primary testing and evaluation platform. Look at your budget and invest extra time and resources into creating truly exceptional mobile experiences.
Don’t settle with reproducing traditional desktop features on mobile devices. Instead, build your website to be a Progressive Web Application, which allows for innovative and mobile-specific features in addition to conventional web features. Explore the vast range of possibilities the modern mobile web has to offer, including location awareness, phone sensor data, offline storage capabilities, and background processing.
Making the change from “desktop first” to “mobile first” requires a fundamental shift in strategy as well as practice. To help you make this leap to modern-day web content, approach your projects from a “desktop last” perspective. This will help you avoid desktop bias. You should also set your goals and metrics to support the shift to a mobile world wide web, and make your website design and development decisions based on a vision of a mobile future.