The Evolution of Mobile-First Web Design

By December 12, 2017Website Design
person putting together a paper layout of a mobile site with text the evolution of mobile first web design

The term “Mobile First” was first used following the iPhone launch in 2008. As we have become an ever-increasing mobile first society, the term is not just a vision of the future, but a reality.

Since 2012, PC purchases have been declining — selling 269.7 million in 2016; however, smartphone purchases are rising. In 2016, smartphones sold 1.5 billion; up five percent from the previous year.

Rapid Increase in Mobile Traffic

Over 60 percent of online traffic is now coming from a mobile device. This spurred Google to announce the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project in 2015. This is an open source project that anyone can contribute to in an effort to create a faster, more responsive internet for all. In February 2016, users began to see AMP pages on their mobile devices.

Mobile Page Development

Once AMP was seen as the future of mobile internet, development and website programming strategy began to evolve into mobile-friendly, mobile-responsive, and mobile-first. In May 2017, Google reported 900,000 web domains that were publishing AMP pages, with 2 billion being published globally. It is predicted that by 2019, businesses will be required to have a Mobile-First site or risk losing out by flying under Google’s radar.

Know Your Mobile: Friendly vs Responsive vs First

With mobile growth occurring so rapidly, the terminology can get confusing and a little muddled as the industry evolves. Here is a quick guide to the three main terms you need to know:

  • Mobile Friendly designs are an afterthought, adding design updates that allow the user to do almost everything on the desktop through a mobile device.
  • Mobile Responsive approaches the issue from a technical viewpoint — web pages are designed for different layouts depending on screen size, but the desktop site is usually designed first, with the tablet and mobile sites to follow.
  • Mobile-First sites are built with the smallest screen considered first (because that’s the device we look at first). This design strategy looks, interacts, and loads quickly across all platforms and screen sizes, with optimal viewing reserved for a mobile device, where its predecessors had optimized websites for the PC.

Mobile-First is quickly becoming the required industry standard, pushing Friendly and Responsive design strategies out of the first web design is designed from the phone first

Mobile-First Indexing

Most recently, Google has begun a new, separate mobile-first index. This new type of indexing will rank your site based on the mobile content experience, instead of for desktop. As long as businesses make the change to mobile-first sites, nothing will change because all of the site’s content is the same and responds to any difference in platform seamlessly.

In Conclusion

Your business will benefit from the increased page loading speeds, easier user access, and large call-to-action, as these will increase your traffic, your leads, and your potential conversions.

Turn The Page has been producing AMP pages for the better part of a year now and there are many more coming. Don’t miss out on the Mobile-First revolution — it’s as easy as giving us a call!

Author Amanda Hall

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