Key Steps to Implementing Mobile-first Website Design
Google is just a few months away from implementing mobile-first indexing for all websites. So, if your site has not made the switchover yet, it is time to tighten up your seat belts. Mobile-first implementation takes a lot of skill and time. It can be quite technical. Our web development experts help you with some steps on how to implement mobile-first design for your website.
But first, what does Google consider as a mobile device? A mobile is a smartphone that runs on mobile OS like iPhone, Android or Windows. A tablet is generally not considered as a mobile device.
Implementing Mobile-first Designs
Let us get started on how to implement a mobile-first design.
Before you start on designing or upgrading your existing website to a mobile-first one, get the groundwork ready. Some questions you can start with –
Who is my target audience?
- How do they use their smartphones to interact with my site?
- What should be my primary content?
- What would be my main message?
- What payment gateway will work best for my business?
The above points will help you create a strategy for a mobile-first website. Which brings us to the next point.
Get Rid of mDot Site
With Google going mobile-first, a separate site for mobile devices (mDot) is irrelevant. It also ends up confusing the user. A mobile-first site which works for other devices is what users and Google expects.
Test if Your Website is Mobile-first Ready
Get Your Social Media Accounts in Order and Link to Them
Before you release your mobile-first website, get your social media accounts in order. Ensure that you have active accounts. The address and logos should be consistent across social accounts. Majority of social media users access and browse social platforms on their mobiles. Make it easy for them to share your content.
Your mobile-first design will depend on your business and target audience. The following few pointers can help you start on how to implement mobile-first design for your site.
Small text on a small screen is an absolute no-no. Use sufficiently large and simple fonts that make reading on a mobile device easy.
Navigation and Interactions
Navigating on a mobile screen can be confusing. Users should know where they are at all times.
- Say goodbye to the traditional menu and use the hamburger menu.
- Use large icons and buttons.
- Leave sufficient space between clickable elements.
- Design for large fingers.
- Navigation should be kept at three levels. Example – Category Product Subcategory Product page
- Make it easy to get back to the Home Page.
- Ensure that social buttons are prominently placed and are easily clickable.
- Keep forms simple
- A form with a lot of fields can be quite frustrating even on a desktop. Reduce the number of fields and use auto-suggest or clickable buttons wherever possible.
Keep Single or Double Column
Single column content works best on a mobile screen. It makes the page easily scrollable. Avoid going beyond double columns at any cost. Formulate your content for single columns.
Keep Labels Above the Content
Ensure you design the labels to position above the content. Labels on the left or right columns do not work well for the mobile screen.
Mobile-first websites are mostly about content and design. But for a good user experience, there are also a lot of technical factors to be taken care of. Do you need media queries or frameworks? What is the best framework for your site?
Speed is another crucial factor for a good UX. It is a page ranking factor too.
- You can expect an increase in crawl rate when your site first moves to mobile-first. Can your current hosting handle the extra load?
- Install CDN to serve content and speed up your site.
- Use lazy load for your mobile-first site.
- Optimise images and videos.
- Implement caching to speed up your site.
- Minify your resources.
Speed is just the tip of the iceberg of the technical factors. Implementing mobile-first design can be time-consuming and tricky. We recommend hiring a skilled developer for a seamless transition to mobile-first.
CDN – Content Delivery Network – A system of geographically distributed servers that delivers web content based on the location of the user.
Lazy Load – A technique where only the required sections of a webpage are loaded, instead of loading the entire page in one bulk.
Media Queries – It is a CSS technique used to set rules and apply conditions to content rendering.
Framework – a basic structure of files and folders of standardized code used as a basis to start building a website.