World Book Day / How Mobile-first Responsive Web Design Doubles Your Market

How Mobile-first Responsive Web Design Doubles Your Market

Andy Thorne
How Mobile-first Responsive Web Design Doubles Your Market feature image

Where’s the first place you look for information about restaurant opening times, directions to locations or places to buy goods or services? There’s a very good chance that the answer is your mobile phone.

Despite the ease and popularity of using smartphones for internet access, many companies still haven’t optimised their website for mobile devices. Instead of creating a mobile-first responsive web design, they have a desktop-sized website that users struggle to use on a mobile device.

Have you done a simple test to see if Google ranks your website ‘mobile friendly’? It’s surprising how many companies haven’t. Then, they wonder why their SEO activities are an uphill struggle!

Mobile phones are taking over

example of mobile-first responsive web design from the Burger King app

An estimated two-thirds of the global population now owns a mobile phone – over five billion people!

An estimated two-thirds of the global population now owns a mobile phone – over five billion people!

To be blunt, mobile-first responsive web design should be basic commercial common sense. Let’s look at statistics to back that up.

An estimated four-fifths of the global population now owns a mobile phone – over 6.5 billion people. In the UK, it’s estimated that 84% of adults own and use a mobile phone.

Also in the UK, over 80% of people use their smartphones to access the internet; to research, search and buy things, as well as for entertainment and social media.

Mobile devices account for around half of all website traffic worldwide, reaching as high as 58.99% in Q2 of 2022.

Think about that for a moment. Around half of the people looking at your website are using their smartphones. That figure is going up.

In effect, the age of ecommerce has given way to the age of mobile commerce, with a growing proportion of your customers making purchasing decisions – or deciding to visit places – based on what they see on their phones!

Are you losing 50% of customers?

Laptop keyboard with a finger hovering over the power button

50% of your potential customers could be getting totally ‘turned off’ because your website is ineffectual on mobile devices.

So if around half of all website traffic is coming from mobile users, could 50% of your potential customers be getting totally ‘turned off’ due to your website being ineffectual on mobile devices?

When you’re grabbing attention online and delivering a strong user experience to convert leads, the little things matter a lot.

Some websites look clunky and unprofessional on mobile devices, even if they are attractive and slick on desktops, laptops and even tablets.

Is your site slow to load, skewed or confusing to navigate on a mobile, relying on a cursor rather than gestures to navigate around? Does it allow site visitors to zoom in and out, or find your call to action quickly? Then, there are those terrible registrations or enquiry forms you have to peer at, before painfully tapping in details, only to lose it or get timed out for no apparent reason!

This could all account for why your conversion rate is unsatisfactory.

How to capture customers ‘on the move’

A bird's eye view of a crowd of people crossing a road

Smartphone users want quick, easy to find information as they go about their day.

Smartphone users want quick, easy-to-find information as they go about their day.

A new website optimised for use on mobile phones fulfils two important priorities.

One is the smaller screen size, of course. The other is that smartphone users want quick, easy-to-find information as they go about their day. For example, on the train, in the coffee shop or lying in bed!

For maximum impact, new websites optimised for mobile devices need specialist features built-in for ease of use. For example, a click-through phone number to call you seamlessly, buttons to go straight to messaging apps or links to social media

A mobile-first responsive web design could also include one-click access to Google maps, and a registration and enquiry form that auto-fill from the phone’s memory.

Think small to sell big

A lightbulb with yellow coloured pegs coming off it to show it being switched on

The smallest of change can create the biggest of impacts. Think small, achieve big

The smallest of changes can create the biggest of impacts. Think small, achieve big

Skilled website designers use more subtle ways to increase internet performance on mobile phones too. For example, eye-catching colours on desktop sites can be headache-inducing on mobile technology!

Having a panoramic layout, pop-ups, scrolling images or other design devices lifts desktop sites but can kill mobile phone versions.

Final thoughts on mobile-first responsive web design

The idea of responsive web design takes the website design and adjusts the layout and sizing of elements in ‘response’ to the size of the user’s device and screen size.

This will configure the design to all screen sizes and ensure that no matter what device your users view your site on, your website will be optimised and offer a great user experience.

Google also prefers responsive web design as it helps Google’s algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page rather than needing to signal the existence of corresponding desktop/mobile pages.

Responsive design also saves resources when Googlebot crawls your site and requires less engineering time to maintain a single page for the same content.

When designing for mobile devices, it is important to fully understand your target audience and their behaviour. Responsive design is a really important technique to use when making your website responsive for mobile devices.

Either way, failing to act could be reducing your sales potential by 50% – or more!