“Mobile-friendly”. You have probably heard this phrase many times when speaking of websites and web design. A web sales person may have emphasized this as a selling point in a pitch. You may have even caught yourself saying it without thinking twice. But what does mobile-friendly imply?
The Meaning of Mobile-Friendly
A likely common interpretation of “mobile-friendly” would be: “Plays nicely with mobile,” or in other words, “just friends”. That you want to make sure that your website is compatible or functional with mobile devices, but the concern is usually secondary. The relationship with mobile is strictly casual, because your website is being designed for its true love: the desktop. To be fair, mobile-friendly sites have certain default benefits such as: No more pinching to zoom in for users and mobile menus. But do you want it to end there, or should you want to get out of the friend-zone with mobile?
When You Should Take it Step Further
In many industries, long gone are the days when desktop visitors dominated their website traffic. Many retailers are seeing mobile users make up over 75% of their total traffic. So the question arises: Should you be happy with “mobile-friendly”, or should designing for mobile experience be your primary concern? Ultimately the answer will come down to the type of traffic you are receiving, but more often than not, a mobile-first approach will pay off either way.
If most of your traffic is from mobile devices, then designing your page for mobile first can create more engaging experiences, better information flow, and better calls to action than standard mobile-friendly behavior. After all, the majority of users will not ever see the desktop version of your site. So why place the design emphasis on it?
If most of your traffic is from desktop, then staying in the friend-zone with mobile is more acceptable… but for how long? Even industries that still have desktop-heavy traffic are seeing an increase in the percentage of mobile users. Odds are that sooner or later, you’ll want a better experience for mobile users.
The bottom line is that if you are considering a website redesign in the near future, make sure that it is being designed with the mobile experience as the driver, and that you are not settling for mobile-friendly. The desktop version can still be made to look great with a mobile-first approach, so you will be ready for the continuous swing toward mobile devices even if it’s happening slower in your industry than others.
Considering a redesign?
Contact us today. We’d love to throw our hat in the ring and help you decide what’s right for you with a mobile-first approach.