For many established businesses, having a website that predates iPhones and iPads is commonplace. We are approached by businesses almost daily that still have a “non mobile-friendly” website. Perhaps you fall in this group. If so, you’ve likely been bombarded with messages from salespersons (many if not most from overseas) practically screaming that your website is not mobile-friendly, and that death and destruction are sure to follow. You must get a mobile-friendly website, they exclaim.
As annoying as these spam messages and telemarketers’ calls are, they do have a point, right? Your website needs to be mobile-friendly, right? Right?!
Maybe not. Let’s take a step back and think about what exactly the meaning of “mobile-friendly” is. Mobile-friendly means that a website adapts, or responds (hence the term responsive design), to the screen size of the visitor’s device, presenting content in a manner that is easy to view and digest. In most cases, this involves designing a website first for larger screens, and then controlling how it “slims down” to smaller screens. Therefore, mobile versions of a website are simply derivatives of a parent. Rarely do people speak positively of derivatives; typically it is just a shell of something that is no longer available. This could be referred to as a desktop-first, mobile-second process.
This can work, but does it result in the best possible experience for mobile visitors? At one time, it did… But not anymore. Most of the websites that we manage for our Clients now have well over 50% of all traffic coming from mobile devices. This even includes B2B websites. Furthermore, this trend will only strengthen as we move forward.
Here is a snapshot of analytics data from a website we built and manage for a Client (identity is hidden–we never share Client data). You’ll notice how in late 2014, mobile traffic first overtook desktop traffic, and the two battled back and forth until late 2015, when mobile traffic permanently pulled ahead of all other traffic. Pro tip: Notice how these two largest upswings of mobile traffic coincided with holiday shopping–a time when many people get new devices.
Therefore, if mobile devices are the primary segment in use, why then are so many firms designing websites for larger screens that adapt to smaller screens? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Doesn’t a mobile-first design and strategy make sense?
It certainly does to us. But to be clear, it really depends on your audience. No two websites have identically the same audience. We’ll work with you to ensure your website perfectly appeals to your target audience.
So there you have it. In a rapidly changing business environment, mobile-friendly websites are now dated. Forgive the dramatics, but the point is valid–which is why your business needs a website designed with a mobile-first strategy, that is built not only for phones, but all sorts of small screens (watches? vehicles?). It is as future-proof as you can be, while still being rooted in the present and giving your target audience exactly what they want. And don’t worry: your website will still look great on desktops and laptops.
Until next time, Keep Ascending!
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