5 mobile-first design principles
Updated: Apr 18, 2022
When designing for mobile first, it is important to keep these design principles in mind:
1. Users are at the forefront of design
Your design must help users solve a problem or complete a task quickly and effectively. Your design must be convenient for them, so keep this in mind as you design your user flows. Consider the possible interactions between a user and your app as you identify their pain points. Look at the mobile websites of your competition and find out what mobile-friendly options they do not offer and include those in your design.
2. Visual hierarchy of content:
Your content should be concise and to the point. It is important to focus on delivering only what the user is looking for while cutting out fluff that may distract them. Your content’s visual hierarchy should explain to the user the order of importance and be easy to discern which elements are most important and which are secondary. Consider keeping your titles on the top with a content preview above the fold. This helps users understand and see the content right away. Dividing long copy into numerous, one-sentence paragraphs also helps with scannability of your page.
3. Keep it simple:
A simple mobile design is a great way to improve content clarity while helping users focus on content that matters most. Therefore, only keep elements that you really need on your mobile site in order to avoid superfluous content that may distract the user.
Some methods of keeping it simple include:
Reducing the number of links in your navigation menu (as information architecture becomes extremely important).
Using as few pages as possible.
Two columns of content at most.
Use typography that is not too small for mobile.
Keep your borders wide and lines clean.
Utilise white space to make the layout less cluttered and more readable.
4. Bold and consistent CTAs:
Having a bright, bold, and consistent CTA helps ensure users are able to locate them with ease. Not doing so can lead to loss of valuable leads and decreased conversions. Therefore, make sure your CTAs are striking and impossible to miss.
5. Consider your site’s loading speed:
If users experience poor website performance, 79% of users are less likely to visit that website again. Therefore, the speed of your mobile site, including your splash screen, is extremely important. It should not take more than three seconds to fully load as users tend to leave if it does not load in that time. This is why stripping mobile-first elements of anything unnecessary works in your favour.
Methods to increase load speed include compressing your images so they lose weight while maintaining clarity.
Utilising “lazy loading” helps as website elements load separately and in sequence, opposed to all at once. Finally, switch to safe HTTPS protocol, which is faster, more secure, and can contribute to better SEO.
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