Mobile-First Design Best Practices

Like most disciplines, web design is constantly evolving and improving. Not simply through visual aesthetics but also through the architectural structure in which to guide a user. As more data and feedback comes back from every design idea out there, there are continual discoveries in how websites can be further optimised as they adapt to changing trends, be it personal tastes or shifts in device and technology.

So let’s jump right in.  For years, Google had already announced that mobile devices would overtake desktops as the primary device for web browsing. By 2016, the world had reached that tipping point, and common sense prevailing, web designers should have been stressing the importance of mobile-first designs so the website could be accessible for all devices.  We’re finally here, folks.  No longer just a good idea, mobile-first design ought to be standard across all websites. Rather than just making sure the desktop version can chunk down a bit when viewing on mobiles and calling it a day though, there are many more opportunities for websites to be improved for better mobile usability.

One of the biggest usability trends we’re already seeing are fewer navigation menu items. In the past most navigation menus would feature 5-7 items on average, but nowadays, with a view to optimising for mobiles, designers aim to reduce this number down to 3-4. While this alone helps with preventing decision-paralysis from users who are overwhelmed with too many options, there’s less clutter to present when viewing on smaller screens.

Another change that has been gaining momentum is a shift away from graphically heavy designs and better utilisation of text, colours and page composition to achieve aesthetics and readability. While images will always serve as powerful mediums to convey your messaging, websites that focus too much on graphically intensive designs often need crippling compromises to translate their content to mobile. You’ll often find on mobile-first websites that images are now downplayed but still present.

But remember, these tips are barely scraping the surface of mobile-first design!  There are many reports and ongoing studies delving into every little detail, from form fields to tabulated data, and while these are currently best practice now, if you’re looking to maximise your online presence and provide your users with an intuitive experience, constant updates and revisions are the key.

Need help with optimising your site or interested in a bit of a refresh? Contact our friendly and awesome team at info@webignite.com.au