It’s a Mobile First Era: Say Goodbye To The Homepage
Our mobile devices today are our gateways to the connected world. Whether we need to find a new restaurant, watch a movie, book a trip, check the news or post a picture on social media, we go to our smartphones first. Anytime, anywhere.
It doesn’t matter if we start on mobile and complete the action on a bigger screen. The decision to be interested in a topic or not has already been taken on that smaller mobile screen.
The Turning Point:
A few months ago, we witnessed a turning point in the worldwide internet usage. StatCounter reported that for the first time, mobile internet usage exceeded desktop and accounted for 51.3% compared to 48.7% for desktop.
As per Google, more people search on their mobile devices today than on their desktop computers, spending an average of more than 3 hours per day on their smartphones. Google also revealed that 70% of mobile travelers had done travel research on their smartphones and that time in front of the TV has declined in favor of mobile, with 18–49-year-olds‘ time on YouTube jumping 44%.
Today, mobile is more mainstream than ever, and businesses are depending on this platform to boost their revenues. An App Annie report showed that consumer spending had reached $52 billion on mobile app stores and a staggering $77 billion in gross on mobile in-app advertising.
How Does That Affect The User Experience?
Most of the online traffic, especially informative, social and entertainment content platforms like news and blogs, have shifted from direct homepage visits to referrals from social media platforms.
People’s first entry is now via mobile; they are mainly on a social media platform, they see something interesting, they click and get redirected to an internal page on that website while still on their mobile device. The challenge from that moment on is to get the user to stay for the longest time, browse more, subscribe and keep on coming back.
Q: Where Do We Start When Planning, Designing And Building an Online Platform?
A: Mobile First.
When we start mapping the journey and the user experience of any online platform, we need to take into account all the many screens at hand. All the different laptop resolutions, tablets, phablets, and smartphones. So many devices to think about and adjust accordingly. We shouldn’t forget to adapt to different technologies, like having to create a mobile app or a TV app when needed.
UX/Designers have always started building the desktop website first. it always looks better; they have plenty of digital real estate to work with, the design can be visually differentiated from other sites as they can focus on design details, large visuals, interactive features, etc.
Today, this has changed. The homepage is no longer the single most important element. Of course, it still is crucial, and it needs to look great but what is more important is the user experience, our primary focus is to make sure that the user gets the best out their short visit to the platform.
To guarantee a better online presence, we need to make sure to take the below steps into consideration:
The 3 U(s)
It is crucial to define the user journey first, map out all the touch points that a user goes through to interact with your product. Think about situations, locations, time of engagement and platforms.
The User Experience (UX) is the single most important element in the whole process. The UX is the blueprint for everything to follow: Business, content, design and technology.
The UX designer needs to understand technology, coding and design trends. A good UX document marries the business opportunities with the design and technical needs while making sure that the user’s journey is kept simple and least complicated.
The User Interface:
The User Interface (UI) or the design is the beautification process of the UX; every project needs to start with UX first before moving into UI. The technical and business requirements that the UX takes into account are not always known to the designer. If the UX document is clear and comprehensive, then the designers can do what they do best, draw a visually stunning design instead of trying to guess their way into the product.
Before Starting a Project Ask Yourself The Following:
What are my business objectives? How do I measure success?
What are the most important elements to showcase?
Who are my audiences and where do I find them?
Is the experience optimized across all devices and platforms?
Do I need all the devices and platforms?
Can my users easily navigate through the platform if their first entry was an internal page?