using smart phones for shoppingThis year we are concentrating on responsive mobile-first design strategy.  The reason for this is very simple.  The mobile web usage surpassed desktop usage two years ago. Knowing this fact, as a website developer, we made the change to the mobile-first design.  Over eighty (80) percent of users today are using their smartphones for shopping.  By concentrating on mobile-first we can use some of the same elements for the layout and concept that we use on the responsive design platform.

Finding information quickly is key:

Mobile, responsive design strategy allows your users to quickly find you in mobile as well as general searches and avoids redirects.  This is extremely helpful for those consumers looking for goods and services on a slower connection.  The same content developed for the laptop version will work for mobile-first strategy as well.  This means there is no reason to create SEO for both platforms.

You have very little time for someone to find out what you do when they visit your website. They are not going to stick around to locate the information they need.  The goal for any website owner is to turn the visitor into a buyer within a few seconds of visiting the site.  This is called “conversion.”  This refers to converting a visitor to an actual buyer proficiently and fast using mobile-friendly methods. The newer designs feature text and images up front and immediately available as you enter the landing page.

Mobile-first and responsive design working together:

Both platforms are developed using many of the same qualities.  Responsive web design and mobile-first strategy work well together as long as the content and layout elements are simple and less cluttered.  A clean and simple flat design works best for both.  The color palette and inspiration for the design is still based heavily upon the company brand elements.  Although the two mediums are different, they can both deliver pleasing experiences and play different roles. Where the desktop model for the design may concentrate on web imagery and content, the mobile version may be developed to optimize simple facts that can quickly be used to find relevant information about the company.

website design methodsMobile-first (from a designer’s perspective):

As a mobile website developer, it is important to keep the content organized for easy access to the most important messages of your client. The use of color comes into play on mobile designs as a method to draw attention to primary content. Using colors instead of images is a trick used by designers to minimize the amount of data needed to create a page.  Keeping images and videos to a minimum will also aid in load time optimization. Adding map and phone number links is an important aspect of mobile designs as the user is most likely on the road and wants to contact or find you with a mere click.

Responsive website design is normally a single website that responds to all genres.  The website automatically changes to fit any screen size being used.  The site is developed to be used for the mobile user and the desktop user, with no additional attention being paid to the mobile design. You need just one website which looks great for all devices.  On the other hand, when we design for mobile-first, both platforms are developed, the mobile platform first.  This gives a separate design quality to focus on the two audiences, responsive desktop, and tablet versus the phone design.

Mobile-friendly designHow does Google rank mobile versus desktop designs?

Google favors mobile-friendly websites (those that are optimized for mobile viewers).  If your site is an older site and has not been re-designed using responsive design strategy, it is time to make the change or risk losing sales to competitors who have updated to mobile-friendly platforms.  This holds true no matter what your industry is or where your target audience is generated from.  As web developers, we must use mobile-first responsive design methods for all projects to stay competitive in our industry.  Check your mobile performance by using these tools from Google

News and views from March of 2019:  Our finished projects

Congrats to Julia Manchester on her great new responsive website.  She is a reporter in Washington and will be using her site to report the news of the day.  More and more individuals are asking for their own specific sites to go a step further than social media to build their brand.  We wish Julia the best of luck with her new site.  Follow Julia online for the news from The Hill. Social networking provides credibility to the reporter. Adding links to the reporter’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts give visitors to the website additional sources of information and opportunities to follow Julia as she reports on the latest news.

Fence Central now has a great new website just launched on March 15, 2019.  Their old site was outdated and in need of a new look for spring.  Their new site is mobile-friendly and responsive to visitors.  The team decided to change to Blue Host for their server company of choice.  Blue Host gave Fence Central a ’free” SSL Certificate which made their site secure for visitors.  Having a secure platform is necessary today since Google is using this as one of the criteria for ranking purposes.

Fence Central has many positive reviews on FaceBook and Google.  They wanted to showcase those reviews on the website. By accessing the reviews and embedding them into the website pages gives the company additional credibility for the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages.)  The bottom line is that responsive web design is all about content first whereas designing for mobile-first means you pay more attention to the functionality of the design and how quickly it interacts with the user.

Thanks for stopping by our website and staying connected for all things design! Have a great spring ahead and enjoy the first days of April.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. The design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

Staff Writer