Design for Mobile First
If you decide it’s time to design a new website, an important key to success is to design it for mobile first. When you do this, you have to re-evaluate all your content. Business owners as well as website designers are still in laptop- and desktop-design mode. And because they’re thinking in terms of large screens that need to be filled, they put a lot of content online—often way too much. As a result, the vast majority of websites are bloated with way too much information.
It’s time to throw out all that non-essential stuff. The best way to help you make those tough decisions about which content to cut is to think in terms of mobile first. After all, if your main design is optimized for a small screen that adapts by getting bigger when viewed on a laptop screen (as opposed to shrinking when it gets viewed on a smaller screen), it will be easier to take out all the content and graphics that are not really necessary.
If you think all the content on your current site is necessary, you’re only fooling yourself. Most companies have websites that are way too busy. And while the website may look nice and be “cool” or “trendy,” it’s not getting to the essence of what people need to make decisions or to buy your products. This gives you a strategic reason to get rid of the clutter.
Designing for mobile first forces you to make the hard decisions of what should stay and what should go. It’s similar to when someone moves from a large house to a small condo. When you have the big house, you fill it with a lot of furniture you don’t use, a lot of artwork you don’t look at, and a lot of “must have” gadgets you don’t need. Once you downsize your space, you realize you don’t need all that stuff. Even though letting go is painful at first, it gradually gets easier once you realize how free and uncluttered you feel.
The same concept applies for your website. You have a big screen to fill, so you fill it. Now put your website on a small screen and decide what your self-storage prospects and customers really need to make a buying decision.
The Future of Website Design
Make no mistake: It’s a hard trend (a certainty) that tablets and smartphones are rapidly becoming people’s main computer. Therefore, you want your website to be seen well on these devices and be useful. If you don’t want the added expense and hassle of two websites, then step one is to make your current site adaptive. When it’s time to redo the site entirely, design it for mobile first. These two steps will put you light years ahead of your competition and boost your online presence and sales immensely.
Daniel Burrus is a technology forecaster and business strategist as well as the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology-driven trends to help clients better understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. Burrus is the author of six books, including the national bestseller Flash Foresight: How To See the Invisible and Do the Impossible (www.flashforesight.com) as well as the highly acclaimed Technotrends. For more information, visit www.burrus.com.