The Best Place to Reach Consumers Is on Mobile Devices

Why design for mobile first? Three recent news items involving Google, highlight the speed of change in the online world. What do these changes mean for small business website owners and the web designers who serve them? Read on!

design for mobile first

The first news item is the revelation by Google regarding the dominance of online search by mobile. In 2015, more than half of all online search using Google was done on smartphones. Of the 100 billion searches done worldwide on Google annually, more than half are done on mobile devices with a screen size less than six inches (in other words, this figure does not include tablets, only smartphones). As we approach 2017, nearly 75% of worldwide search is done on mobile devices. The smartphone is now the most common device used to browse the Web.


The second news story has to do with the Google roll-out of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This is an open-source online content publishing framework designed to speed up the load time of web pages on mobile devices. It strips out and simplifies much of the slow-loading CSS and Javascript code in web pages to deliver a simpler, faster way to view content on mobile devices. The goal is to make published content load much faster on smartphones.

Third, Google has stated that it is splitting its search index in 2017. There will be a mobile search index and a desktop search index. The mobile index will be the primary search index, linking to more websites and being more frequently updated. The desktop index (containing websites that are not mobile-friendly) will be smaller and less frequently updated. It’s the culmination of a long-running quest by Google to encourage webmasters to prioritize mobile-friendly versions of their sites.

What Does It Mean for You?

Well, what does this all mean for small business website owners and the web designers who serve them? If you want to address the needs of consumers online, think mobile first. Design for mobile first. No longer is web design for desktop and laptop computers the prime thing. We must design faster, simpler, and smaller websites that load quickly on smartphones. Design for mobile first.

mobile website design

In practical terms, this means that smart web design for small business websites will require cleaner, simpler interfaces without needless visual clutter. The web is not an entertainment medium. It's all about content.  No longer will mud-slow Flash animation web pages and needlessly complex visual embellishments offer any meaningful benefit.

Business owners that serve consumers directly must have a mobile compatible website. Not doing so means shutting out more than half of your potential customers online. As web designers, we must provide elegantly simple and fast-loading websites to keep consumers happy. It brings to mind the old beer ad slogan, "Great Taste...Less Filling!" We will do better web design will less bloated code. That's what consumers want. As Bob Dylan sang, "The Times They Are a-Changin." -Don Peterson, Freelance Mobile Website Designer

Design for Mobile First!