Mobile First and Usability

Since 2015, popular search engines such as Google began to announce that they were receiving more searches via mobile devices than desktop computers. Based on these findings, the online industry began to place more emphasis on the development of concepts and strategies for mobile web design.

This new perspective on web design, centered around its optimization for mobile phones, became known as “mobile first,” and quickly became standard within the industry. With this approach, web pages were created first for tablets and smartphones, and later adapted to the needs of a desktop browser.

Previously, it was common for programmers to create web pages designed solely for viewing on computers, adapting the graphics and structures for larger screens.

With the mobile-first approach, web design workflow was reversed, and its priorities rearranged. This created widespread changes for those working in technological infrastructure and web development. 

Attributes of mobile-first design 

  • Focuses on the essentials
  • Does not invest more effort in programming than necessary
  • Designed for maximum performance on all devices
  • Information is quickly accessible
  • Personalized designs, made specifically for smartphones
  • Avoids using large images and unnecessary features
  • Includes reductions in source code
  • Websites programmed directly in HTML5, doing away with JavaScript

Of course, traditional web design for desktops and laptops should not be neglected, but any company who wants their business to reach more potential customers and therefore generate more traffic to their website should concentrate primarily on developing a mobile web design strategy. Doing so will not pose any technical setbacks, and will be beneficial overall. 

Some people might think that working on a small screen is something negative; that a smaller viewing area means fewer opportunities for displaying content, and could even pose format restrictions. However, ideally it can be understood as a factor that results in a reduction of irrelevant information and functions. The “limitation” of smaller screens forces companies to create a web page that is practical, easy to use, and contains only the content that is really necessary.

Making your website as user-friendly as possible should always be a priority. 

How to know if your site is user-friendly for mobile phones:

  • Your content can be easily accessed
  • Content is responsive and easy to read
  • It has short loading times
  • Links are visible and clickable

Signs your site is not as mobile-friendly as it should be:

  • Requires software that is not commonly installed on smartphones (for example Flash)
  • Font is small and hard to read
  • Links are too close to each other, or appear on top of each other
  • Content is too large for the screen

Site Content

The quality of your site’s content is a crucial factor in providing an optimal mobile experience. It has been proven that mobile web pages with concise and easy-to-read content are highly valued by search engines.

For this reason, texts, images, graphics, and other multimedia elements continue to be immensely important for any web page. Texts must be structured so that they can be easily viewed and read on small screens. Text should be organized into smaller blocks, with titles and subtitles that facilitate quick reading of the content. Images and videos should load easily and be of sufficient quality to be viewed on mobile devices with high-definition screens. Ideally, this should be the general approach to all online content.