10 Things to Remember for Mobile First Design

It’s 2016. More than half of your website users are probably visiting from a mobile device, not a desktop. Unfortunately, because web designers either started the gig before 2006, or because they’re work from their 27″ iMacs plugged into high-speed internet, it’s easy to forget some of the basics of mobile first (or mobile-only) design.

Here are a few things to remember:

  1. “Hover” doesn’t exist on touch devices.
  2. Phone screens are tiny (much smaller than your iMac).
  3. Users don’t read instructions. Show them, don’t tell them.
  4. The photos they’re posting probably were taken on a phone (and probably vertical).
  5. Though devices are small, retina screens mean they can display rich imagery.
  6. Forget sidebars. Focus on one main column of content.
  7. Think of chubby fingers when sizing and spacing buttons.
  8. Pop-ups are always annoying (ok, they also work), but they become impossible if they’re not designed for small screens.

  9. Mobile users expect your site to load even when they’re in 3G, or stuck in the middle of a big box store. Make your pages lightweight.
  10. The more devices you test on, the better.

The best website are designed with the user in mind (and your users might not be like you). User-focused site design these days is mobile first.