Click to call Raul Gonzalez, a Mobile First Website Designer and PHP Developer in Dallas, TX A Mobile First website design example and tutorial!

A Mobile First website design example and tutorial!

What is a Mobile First website design and why should you care?

With a Mobile First website design strategy, you start by optimizing the navigation menu interface and web page layout on a Smartphone screen. Once analysis is completed you then focus on how the web page layout looks on devices with larger screens such as tablets, laptops, desktops, large screen TVs and Projectors.

User Experience (UX) is thought of as all the tasks focused on optimization of a product for an effective and enjoyable use. User Interface (UI) is how the website visitors interact and view your website!

Designing a website with a Mobile First design strategy involves focusing on the following areas:


The navigation menu is the MOST CRITICAL AND DIFFICULT area to optimize. My goal is to take into consideration FINGERS, THUMBS AND TOUCH for a consistent User Interface (UI) experience!

The latest Smartphone trend that affects the User Interface (UI) of a website is the popularity of large screen devices that are usually referred to as Phablets. These large Smartphone devices all have screen sizes between 5 1/2 to 8 inches. A large screen Smartphone creates a unique challenge for how the user interacts with the website. Let's explore this challenge:
  1. Try holding a large Smartphone using just ONE HAND.
  2. Can your thumb finger reach the top of the Smartphone screen? PROBABLY NOT!
  3. Why is this important? When the Menu interface is located on the top of the page, it DOES NOT have an optimal THUMB User Interface (UI) when holding it with just ONE HAND!
In a Designmodo article titled 10 Web Design Trends to Try in 2017, Carrie Cousins discusses how the Navigation Menu DOES NOT need to be placed at the top of the page.

User Interface (UI) research recommends that considering the THUMB ZONE is a very important factor when designing the Navigation Menu User Interface (UI) of a mobile website. Steven Hobber's research on How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices and Designing for Larger Phones also provide great insight on this topic.
The Mobile First Menu Navigation User Interface (UI) that I have implemented has the following features:
✅ It uses an AMBIDEXTROUS Mobile Navigation User Interface (UI). The Menu can be displayed on the LEFT or RIGHT side of the Smartphone screen by changing the website settings.
✅ When holding the Smartphone with ONE HAND, it provides optimal THUMB ZONE ACCESS to both the LEFT and RIGHT hand THUMB FINGER.
✅ The CSS3 Only Full Screen Overlay Menu uses the minimum amount space on the screen, does not impact the readability of the web page and, allows the web page content to use the full height of the screen.
✅ The Menu button is TRANSPARENT and SCROLLABLE making it easily recognizable and allows visitors to explore other web pages in your website without additional scrolling.
✅ This MENU interface delivers a consistent Navigation User Interface (UI) ACROSS ALL DEVICES.

Configure the web server for speed by:
✅ Enabling GZIP compression.
✅ Leveraging browser caching.
✅ Using HTTP Vary:Accept-Encoding header.

If you are using a desktop or laptop to visit a website, you probably are connected to the internet with a High Speed connection. When you visit a website with a Smartphone, you have to take into consideration the cell phone reception and speed of the cell phone carrier network (i.e. 3G, 4G, 4G LTE).

Images take a VERY LARGE PERCENT of the web page size and need to be optimized by choosing the correct image size for the device and compression. An image should be used to grab the website visitor's attention and convey the desired message. External links within the web page can be used to further explain and validate the desired message that you are trying to convey and are not loaded when the page is originally displayed. I try to show only one optimized image per page and this helps improve the page load speed!
When a web page gets displayed on a Smartphone or Tablet in 'Portrait' viewing mode, I have a goal to use:
✅ Different size images based on the width of the screen.
✅ 50 percent of the top of the screen to show the logo and images.
✅ 50 percent of the bottom of the screen to show the web page header and top of the web page.
There are two tools that I use regularly to test how the images are displayed on different screen sizes, determine web page size and total number of requests.
  1. Quirk Tools allows you to view your web page screen layout on different screen sizes.
  2. PingDom allows you to quickly analyze the web page load speed, size by content type (i.e. HTML, Images), and total number of network requests. It also provides you suggestions for improvement. Preview the report.

This Mobile First web page layout has the following features: THIS DESIGN DELIVERS A CONSISTENT USER INTERFACE (UI) ACROSS ALL DEVICES!
✅ Take advantage of my 👍 FREE service to AUDIT your website!

If you found this information helpful, please consider adding this page to your 📱 Home Screen.

Call me at 972-372-4237 or, send me an email with your existing or new website design project! My initial consultation is FREE and I can address any concerns, issues, and questions that you may have. Feel free to also follow me on Twitter.

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