Optimising For Mobile First

by Jeremiah on July 23, 2014

Responsive Web Design Devices

Designing web pages is becoming ever more complicated nowadays. When designing a website or even a mailer, one has to consider not only different browser types on desktop, but also, many types of different mobile devices, software and screen sizes – one must optimise their content for all of them. This presents a great problem, not just from the point of view of getting web pages, apps etc. to work in the first place, but it also requires a whole new approach to design and layout.

Some stats

Optimising for different devices was a big talking point at SAScon. Various speakers emphasised the importance of optimising for mobile devices. Many even suggested designing and optimising your site with mobile in mind first, and then making something work for desktop. If use e-mails as an example, over 65% of e-mails are opened on a tablet or phone. Since most of us don’t have the time to read, and even less of us enjoy having to scroll lots to read something, it is important that your content is succinct and informative – it must captivate the reader straight away. Interestingly the use of multi-device readership has caused a shift in the approach to designing which many now call the pinterestification of the web. This is where content is organised in small easily digestible boxes. This makes it easy for people browsing, and easier for optimising across many different devices.

In the developed world, for the most part, we have already reached the tipping point whereby usage of mobile devices trumps that of desktop; particularly when it comes to internet usage. 90% of people are now defined as ‘multi-screen’ users; this means that they use both mobile and desktop devices during the day. Over time it is expected that many people will permanently ditch desktop usage. This being the case, it will only become ever more important to optimise for mobile devices first. Nonetheless this could be of great benefit; right now having to optimise for many different types of device and software is very time consuming. If the trend shifts more heavily towards mobile usage, then optimising for larger screens will become less important over time, and consequently might not be necessary altogether.

Mobile only

There are many companies now that have already made the decision to drop optimising for desktop, and make products that are very mobile specific. You don’t have to look further than the hugely profitable sector of mobile HD games, which have become popular in many sectors including the gambling industry. There are an endless variety of games and apps that can be played on your phone; and only on your phone. From iconic games such as Angry Birds and temple run to the making of mobile versions to old games we used to love like Vice City, and even much older classics too.

Mobile devices will certainly continue to become the norm to optimise for. It is difficult to say when there will come a point where desktop will become practically obsolete, of course, this might never happen neither.

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