Google is now using mobile-first search results to rank web pages.  This is reason enough to use a mobile-first design strategy for site development. Until recently Google used desktop content to determine rank. They changed to indexing search results based upon mobile usage once they determined that over ninety (90) percent of users were searching on mobile devices. Mobile websites in the past were created only after the responsive design was published. Now that we are on our desktop computers less and use our smartphones more, the mobile site has quickly become a priority for all site owners.

Mobile-first design method and responsive layout:

The mobile-first design strategy is a process that begins with us sketching and developing a concept and layout for the smallest screen a viewer might use.  We then create a responsive concept and layout for the tablet and desktop user.  These two strategies don’t have to be competitive.

The responsive design process allows us to code our projects using CSS (Cascading Style Sheeting) elements which means we can design the computer view in tandem with the mobile view. The mobile-first design strategy and responsive design now work together to bring about the best solution for online businesses.

You may or may not have received an email notifying you that your site was scanned for mobile-first criteria.  Google takes its own sweet time to completely migrate to mobile-first.  This means you have time to make the change.  But those that do not make this change will be left behind and notice that their search results are declining.  Check with your web designer or contact us to discuss making the change to mobile-first.  We have design packages to suit most budgets.

Content for mobile-first designs:

Those looking at your website on a smaller mobile screen appreciate less content which is easier to read.  This is why we use less content as we develop mobile-first projects.  Blog posts, on the other hand, may often require more content for in-depth articles.  All content should be clear and concise. Watch your grammar and use a grammar tool to strengthen your accuracy.  Use single-sentence paragraphs when possible.

Mobile-first site simplicity:

Search engines love the simplicity of mobile-first sites. They are both easy to read and are easy on the eyes too.  You will notice there is usually more white space to help the site appear less cluttered, and there are usually fewer menu links.  We stick with only the elements that are really necessary.  This design method works best as we develop a mobile-first modern site.

Google is ok with us using a “Hamburger Menu” for web page navigation, although we still use the horizontal menu on computer views.  Google is also reporting that it is still ok for us to use horizontal menus or “Hamburger Menus” for new website projects.

What is a hamburger menu?

This refers to a menu which has three horizontal lines which are used on many new sites.  We mainly use this type of menu on the mobile view rather than the computer view.  It is normally placed in the top right-hand corner of the landing page and the visitor will use this to see the entire menu by pointing and clicking.

This allows the menu to drop down and display all pages of the site.  Google considers any website that displays on a mobile device a mobile site.  No matter how poorly it appears on the screen and even if it breaks all the guidelines, it is still considered a mobile site. But when the site is built on a mobile platform it is definitely more valuable and shows best.  The value of the website depends entirely on how well it was coded for mobile-first design.

CTAs (Call To Action Elements)

Add your call to action elements to be mobile-friendly.  A “get information” CTA, for example, should be connected to a phone number which can be easily clicked to connect the viewer to a customer service representative.  This can quickly generate a lead which may turn into a sale. A new method allows the user to send a Text message from your website phone-view rather than making a phone call. A button push opens the text messenger and can be programmed with an introductory sentence automatically inserted.

Total benefits for mobile-first design:

Today, mobile conversion rates are increased at least 60 percent when they are compared to desktop conversion rates around the globe. This design strategy is also beneficial for download time since there are fewer elements on the page, so the site loads quickly.

Inside Design News:

Congrats to Schick Roofing for choosing us to design their new website.  Their current site is over four years old and it is time for a refresh and a new modern with all the new smart technology bells and whistles.  Stay tuned for the big reveal in September.

Thanks for stopping by and hurry back for more next time from the design wizards at Inside Design Orlando.

Staff Writer.