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Mobile First Design for B2B

BY SHAY RUGGLES

Mobile First, a design philosophy that suggests starting with mobile designs and THEN working your way up to desktop, was originally coined by Luke Wroblewski in 2009 but has become more popular due to the rise in popularity of responsive design. We have just started to have clients ask us about our take on this concept so I thought it would be of interest to talk about our take on the subject.

What is Mobile First?

The philosophy of Mobile First at its core is to start with your mobile designs first and then work your way to larger formats. This philosophy is founded in the following reasoning:

  1. Mobile is exploding
  2. Mobile forces you to focus
  3. Mobile extends your capabilities

Our Take on Mobile First for B2B

While mobile usage is irrefutably on the rise, it's still not as big of a factor for B2B websites (as of now). I wrote a post about this back in March that you can dive into deeper, B2B Mobile Traffic: Hype vs. Reality, but what you need to know is after reading a Nielsen Norman article about B2B mobile traffic sitting around 5%, we got curious and dove into the Google Analytics of our clients. This is what we found:

  • Desktop: 88.7% of traffic
  • Tablet: 5.42% of traffic
  • Mobile: 5.88% of traffic

So yes, mobile usage is increasing like crazy, but for most B2B websites, your mobile traffic is so small it probably not necessary to base your entire website on the mobile first concept just because it's becoming a more popular medium to browse the web.

If you've looked at your current mobile usage and it's looking a little reversed (more mobile than desktop), mobile first might be the best option for your best user experience.

Forced Focus

Forced focus by starting small and then expanding is the all-time BEST argument for a mobile first philosophy in my eyes. Mobile first forces your marketing team to focus on the key tasks you want visitors to accomplish on your website. There is no room for extraneous fluff on a mobile website, which translates to a super clean and efficient desktop site.

Even if you do not approach design from mobile to desktop (or even have a mobile version) thinking hard about the key activities and messages needed for your website is fantastic exercise for any company building a new website. To learn more about our philosophy on the website process, contact us.

Shay Ruggles
written by SHAY RUGGLES

Shay Ruggles is the Director of UX at Carbon8 who ensures we are creating compelling experiences that balance user intent, clients’ business needs and site performance. A former Account Manager, Video Producer and Carbon8’s first employee, Shay leveraged her years of experience, education and research to transition to the creative team of Carbon8 in 2012.

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