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Mobile-First Web Design and Development

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Back on October 23, 2012 we wrote a blog post highlighting the top techniques for building a mobile website. At the time, the mobile web was still relatively new but fast forward nearly three years later and we are living in an increasingly mobile-first world. Back in 2012 our main declaration was simple and continues to remain relevant:

“It is extremely important to understand the significance of the mobile web and the impact it will have on your business in the following years.”

Just How Mobile-First Has Web Design and Development Become?

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.37.32 AM• Responsive design is now the standard and a Google algorithm ranking factor. To check your own website, you can use Google’s ‘Mobile-Friendly Test

• For the first time, mobile web advertising is predicted to surpass desktop advertising. Desktop ad spending also peaked in 2013 and is in a state of decline.

• According to Ericsson, the average monthly data usage per smartphone in North America will increase from 2.4 GB today to 14 GB by 2020.

• More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.

Below Are 5 Common Areas to Focus on and Start With When Looking at Your Own Mobile Strategy:

1. Mobile Analytics
If you are considering a redesign, use a mobile first strategy and dig deep into your Google Analytics. When we start out a project we build user stories to define the type of user and what they want to do in the website or application. This process helps create a desired functionality based on the various users interacting with the website from any device. When we turn to Google Analytics to understand current mobile user funnels we focus on few questions first:

• What % of your website audience visits from mobile?
• How are users converting on mobile?
• What are the main pages for entrances via mobile?
• What are top second pages on mobile?
• How has mobile traffic changed over time?
• What is your mobile bounce rate?

2. Mobile Usability
If a full redesign is off the table, identify the pain points and create a plan of action around your current user experience on mobile and tablet devices. Be sure to know your mobile users and their habits in order to optimize your mobile registration, shopping cart and checkout funnels. A great resource is over at the Baymard Institute as they benchmarked the top 100 e-commerce sites ranked by checkout usability performance and offer mobile e-commerce usability research.

Usability Study

3. Mobile Applications
Companies are no longer saying ‘we need an app’ without doing their research first. So for companies still on the fence with developing and maintaining a mobile app, comScore reports that 7 out of every 8 minutes on mobile devices is spent within apps. 2016 might be the year of mobile app-reconsideration.

4. Video on Mobile Devices
Streaming video on mobile devices is growing. Just how much? Ericcson predicts that by 2020 mobile video traffic will represent 60% of all mobile data traffic. On the contrary, cable companies are struggling to add new subscriptions and seeing increases in consumers cutting their cable. Nielson is now tracking Netflix for nearly 1,000 shows and although only providing data to the studios, is certainly an exciting shift towards tracking streaming services.

5. Mobile Usability Testing
Here at I-ology we test early and often from the very beginning of the project. User acceptance testing is one of the most popular ways to test a website or application and can be called many different names. Essentially it’s a defined group of users testing in real world situations trying to break the application. Another popular method is test cases and automated scripts for larger applications. When it comes to mobile, cross-browser compatibility testing is the most popular and we recommend using Device Mode Mobile Emulation in Google Chrome.

Google Mobile Emulator
Within the last three years we have worked on a variety of mobile initiatives and recognize every mobile strategy is unique to each company’s strategic objectives. If you have any questions about mobile design and development or need website help, contact our team at I-ology.

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