Mobile: Think Mobile First

There are a wide variety of screen sizes on mobile devices, even when just considering smartphones. These shapes represent actual screen space available on some popular devices.

Web and email design for a smartphone and tablet world

• Network: There are a substantial number of phones that are able to get on the 4G LTE network. Oftentimes, that network is even faster at loading Web pages than some desktop computers. Most phones, however, are still on the 3G network, meaning they have slower loading times. There are also certain places (sometimes even a corner in the house) where consumers don’t get service.

Back in 2009, Google presented a report on the impact slow load times can have on performance, citing slow load times as decreasing consumer activities for up to five weeks after it was fixed. Bottom line, if it’s fast enough for mobile, it’ll work on the Web.

Screen Size: You have 20 percent of the space you’re used to … most of the time. Phones are getting larger while tablets are getting smaller. The first step is realizing 40 percent of the people you are talking to could be on almost any device size, which admittedly can be a little daunting. It forces you to really decide what’s important. Mobile audiences force us to get to the point. We have less space for links and copy, and our images have to be smaller so they can load. Every pixel becomes valuable real estate.

Location: People use their smartphones everywhere. A recent report from Our Mobile Planet (which is part of the Think With Google initiative) shared that the top five places people use their smartphones are at home, “on the go,” stores, restaurants and at work. All of these places indicate consumers are multitasking, meaning you rarely have their full attention for more than a few seconds.

Because mobile consumers are navigating the Web with a device that has the resolution of the newest Macbook Pro, but the microprocessor of a computer from 1995, they are going to take the path of least resistance. And we can learn from them.

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