Why Do You Think Bigger is Always Better?

Mike Taylor | 24 October 2018

It’s no secret that mans best friend is no longer your trusty and loyal four-legged sidekick called Sprite. That role has been taken over by those beautiful, ever-evolving and expensive mobile device that we simply can’t live without.

There is no denying that Kiwi’s can’t live without their smartphone or tablet, with some studies showing that we are spending roughly 3 hours per day on our smartphones. They allow us to stay connected 24/7, stay up to date with the latest news, watch our favourite shows on the go and laugh at memes while on the go.

But, on a more serious note, our growing dependency on mobile devices, is altering the way consumers interact with our businesses. In 2017, over 52% of all global internet traffic was generated by mobile devices. As many of us struggle to find time to sit down in the midst of our fast-paced and chaotic lives, this trend is only going to continue.

As business owners, we need to understand that this is a cultural shift in how consumers are engaging with businesses. The overwhelming evidence since 2016, which was the mobile and desktop browsing overlapped, shows your audience is now looking at you on their brand new iPhone X or Samsung Note.

While desktops won’t become extinct anytime soon, people generally don’t have the time to jump on a desktop and surf the net. They are doing it on the fly, as they wait for their next meeting or sitting on public transport.

Since they overtook desktop in 2016, the mobile device movement has continued to pick up steam. With the growing reliance on mobile’s, Kiwi businesses need to have a strategy in place to capitalise on the market shift. But, where do you start? The answer is simple, your digital shopfront.

Your website is now your shopfront. This is generally, the first touchpoint a customer will have with your business. As a result, you need to create an attractive and functional environment that will hold their attention and entice them to get in touch. But, if are you going to turn these causal window shoppers into customers, your site must be optimised for the devices they are looking at you on.  

With that in mind, the next question that needs answering is, how do you design your website? Do you create it with a mobile-first approach or aim to optimise it for desktops and try to scale it down appropriately?

When attempting to answer this question, the user experience needs to be a major priority. So before you make any major design decisions, we first need to understand how your audience is looking at you. In our experience, all indicators are pointing towards our mobile devices.

With this shift in consumer interaction, businesses need to move away from the traditional methods of designing a website for large screens and crossing their fingers it looks and feels good on a mobile. Instead, mobile should be the first place your mind goes to if someone suggests redesigning or building your website.

Simply put, by designing your website with a mobile-first approach, you are ensuring the interface and features are optimised for use on mobile devices. This means optimising all copy, navigations, menus, images and call-to-actions throughout the site are designed for that 4-inch screen in your hand.

The toss up between designing a website that is optimised for mobile or desktop is no longer a tough question. With every tap on a link, every scroll and every right swipe, your customers are showing you the way you need to be thinking. As a result, the search engine powerhouses are noticing.

Google has recently announced, that a websites mobile-friendliness is now a major factor in determining their SEO rankings. Essentially, promoting those that are built mobile-first and punishing those that are not optimised for those smaller devices. This means websites that are fully optimised for mobile devices, by providing a quality user-experience, fast loading speeds and light structures will fair better than those that don’t.

With screen real estate on mobile devices being limited and thus valuable, from a design and content perspective, a mobile-first approach forces you to prioritise what is essential. This will ultimately help to keep your new website clean, simple and easy to navigate. Which is the ultimate goal for every website.

The dominance of the mobile devices is not going to end anytime soon. I mean, we all live on our phones. As a result, businesses need to adapt and create an environment that facilitates a fluid and friendly online experience for your visitors. So, keep this in mind and if you are noticing a high bounce rate from mobile devices and declining traffic, it may be time for a redesign.