As of 2016, online mobile use has overtaken desktop use, and the rate of use has only been increasing. This has obviously been causing changes in website design and driving the newest trends that we’re seeing year over year.
With mobile-first design now being the focus point of most website designers, we’re really seeing where the movement is taking us. This influence that mobile-first design has been asserting funnels down to two main points: load speed and UI.
Load speed is of course important for mobile users as it not only means that they’re not using as much mobile data, but it also means that they are getting their information faster. Depending on where you’re from and what your cell plan is like, mobile data can sometimes seem to be worth more than gold. This is one of the main reasons why modern websites are using image compression and a more simple design to reduce website file sizes, which reduces overall data consumption and also increases website load speed – a win win! Google has been a driving force behind making website developers push for faster load speeds for users. Google’s mobile algorithm (now their main algorithm) heavily rewards faster loading websites over slower competitors.
The user interface, or more simply put, UI, isn’t something new for websites to focus on, but it has just changed drastically over the past few years. When websites were built with a desktop-first mindset, the user interface was able to be a bit more complicated as the user was expected to be on a full-size desktop, with keyboard and mouse. Now, when developing a website ewe have to focus on the fact that there is no longer separate tools for typing and selecting, the keyboard and mouse are integrated with the screen. With that in mind, the user experience needs to be streamlined, elements like forms have become cumbersome for mobile users, so other solutions must be found. This is where web apps come into play. It wouldn’t make sense at this point for every company to have their own individual app for smartphones, but it does make sense to have a website app that allows mobile users to more easily navigate your content and find what they’re looking for.
Overall, website design is moving into an era that is focusing on creating an enjoyable experience for mobile users, while still being fully usable by desktop users as well. The emphasis on UI and load speed is driving a user-centric website design model that is geared towards providing the best results for the end users, and the companies that are able to do this best are going to be rewarded with the more business from their website visitors.