There’s more than one mobile trend that’s constantly in flux and needs to be watched. I’m going to cover the most important 2018 mobile trend that you should focus on though.
The one trend that will affect the internet the most in 2018 is the mobile only index from Google. Search Engine Land estimates the mobile index will come in 2018 sometime but the most we know is that Google will communicate a lot about it before it happens.
Nobody really knows how it will change the internet but I don’t think it’ll change the internet the same way that some think. No, it won’t dramatically change the number of mobile websites. It will change that a little bit but the big change will come from developers and designers themselves.
Mobile first website design has been spoken of for many years by designers and developers but the fact is, most don’t do things mobile first. It’s too comfortable to work on a computer and then think about mobile as an afterthought.
Let’s take a look at mobile first and how it’s typically thought of.
Designers and developers of websites have been talking about mobile first since the dawn of mobile devices. The problem is that it’s always been talk but very little action.
Only a handful of of people have been heeding the mobile first mindset.
I’m not claiming to be perfect though either. I’ve been guilty at times on some projects of putting mobile last. I never forget mobile and leave it up to chance though, not in the end. When I do forget mobile first then I at least somewhat correct that by putting mobile as a very close second.
The problem is when mobile becomes a last thought before a website goes live. That’s always a recipe for disaster on any website project. Unfortunately it’s too common.Mobile is often an afterthought for website designers. This is a mistake no-one can afford to make. Click To Tweet
Even a website that works for mobile is rarely designed to work well on mobile. Simple assumptions are made such as that people always know what a hamburger menu is (many people still don’t) and that people have fingers that can press tiny buttons.
It’s at least once a day that I find myself closing a mobile browser tab because the website functions so poorly on my smartphone.
Mobile needs to be thought of first because it’s the most common in most industries. Even if it’s not the most common (it isn’t on my website) it’s still a huge chunk of traffic.
B2B mobile audience stats
My website is a bit of an anomaly but I suspect many businesses in the B2B space have similar results. Here’s the distribution between desktop, tablet, and mobile:
B2C mobile audience stats
For the consumer space, those statistics shift dramatically. An eCommerce website I manage has a dramatically different story to tell when it comes to mobile.
Take a look at these stats:
Each of these was taken with stats for the past 30 days which is November 3rd to December 2nd in 2017.
There are two very different stories at play here but in almost all markets mobile is steadily growing. Mobile should come first for most websites.
There is a disconnect between the need for mobile and the design and development for mobile.
There’s a big disconnect between what mobile first should be and how it’s actually practiced. The shift from Google to the mobile only index is the biggest change we’ll see in 2018 where designers and developers will have to change their mindset even more.
The disconnect happens because designers and developers are often doing their work on a desktop and looking at websites on their desktop. It’s not until the vast majority of the work is done before anybody looks at what they’ve done on a mobile device.
At the least, designers and developers should be looking at their work on desktop and mobile devices simultaneously.
It has been easy to forget about mobile until the end up to this point. Google shifting to the mobile first search index will change this though. Suddenly when the Google mobile search is the most powerful influencer in how websites are found people will have to rethink the importance of mobile.Tweaking your mobile design to look good after the website is developed isn't mobile first design. Click To Tweet
The big difference is that non computer and non techy people browse the internet in a very different way than the small group who creates the websites. Most people don’t care about tech and just want to get their task at hand done quickly. That means they don’t want to use a specific device but just want stuff to work no matter how they choose to do it at the time.
That’s not exactly how it works today because so many mobile websites are visibly an afterthought in the design process.
That will all change in 2018.
Everything Changes In 2018
All of this will change when Google separates search results into two categories. Websites that are not made for mobile devices will no longer show in the mobile Google index.
It’ll almost be like there are two internets.
2018 is the year the mobile first mentality will finally be forced upon every website designer and developer. Thanks to Google shifting to the mobile only index, there’s no way people can’t see the importance of mobile first design.
More mobile traffic will come to websites which will emphasize the importance of mobile first design.
If a website isn’t mobile friendly then it won’t even show up in the mobile index. That means a huge hit in traffic for websites that aren’t built for mobile at all.
While it won’t force designers and developers to do anything different (they’re probably already making responsive websites) it will emphasize the importance of mobile. It will also bring a new group of people to mobile savvy developers and designers who are more likely to do the right thing.
The goal for every designer, developer, and business should be to meet this change with a completely prepared mobile-first strategy for their business.
Are You Prepared?
Whether you’re a business owner, a designer, or developer it’s necessary that you understand the importance of mobile first.
For business owners your responsibility lies in the fact that you may hire somebody to help build your website. It’s important to know that you’re hiring a good website designer that is helping your business be inline with how people use the internet.
Preparations have to go beyond just a website that’s responsive though. Websites also need to be designed primarily for mobile if that’s the primary audience. That’s why a professional is necessary who knows your audience and understands the importance of mobile first.
There’s a lot of preparation that goes into a mobile first focus. Before the mobile first index comes to Google, everyone who stays current with search engine optimization info will know.
If you’re ready to invest the time and effort into becoming a mobile-first centered website designer then that’s good you have a goal. If you want to work with someone to grow your business online then let’s talk.