Mobile…the hottest trend over the past ten years has the convenience of accessing information on the go, doing business while anywhere and finding anything you wish for at the tips of your fingers. Our mobile devices – phones, tablets, and laptops have opened an entire world to us. Instant information as is required, solutions in a minute.

It was in 2013 that mobile use exceeded desktop use for the majority of users and we’ve never looked back. Technology experimented with various solutions, and just like any new trend, it took Google taking a stand for what they expected our mobile websites to look like. They pushed for the industry to adopt one true path through all the options.

what is mobile friendly and responsive design?

Something Blue Zenith Design + Strategy has adhered to for the past five years is to create ONLY mobile friendly websites that shift the information to the device window size. In the beginning, this wasn’t an industry standard. Over time, it became a necessity to stay relevant and in front of customers. Google changed their ranking algorithm, to only show those websites that are mobile friendly. Now, they are using Mobile First as their ranking – they “look” at the information from the lens of mobile device. To them, it is the primary way that consumers consume information, and they want to ensure that they are serving the public with information that is both relevant and easy to consume.

in the beginning

When I first started Blue Zenith Design + Strategy, mobile was in its infant stage. There were no standards on how web design should handle mobile. A few different options were offered with the best option being the one we have now – where your website is mobile friendly and serves information differently depending upon the device it’s being viewed on. One other option offered a mobile only website, a completely different view of the information that was meant to display only relevant information to a mobile user. Those solutions, though, failed when mobile slowly took hold in how we interacted – and we demanded the same information regardless of whether we were on our phones, our tablets or our computers. The demand grew to include the same pages, the same experience, executed so we could easily navigate and read on our handheld devices.

Our Perspective

When Blue Zenith Design + Strategy was first founded, the majority of traffic was coming from desktop and mobile devices lagged in at a very small percentage. Over time, we followed the options and chose early to develop mobile responsive websites. That seemed to be the most practical for small business. The challenge? That was getting our clients to understand the differences in mobile responsive development. No longer did we look at the desktop as being the primary design, but was more concerned with the way the site looked on all device standards – from desktop to tablet to mobile. Now, with mobile overtaking desktop website usage, it is even more important to understand the way the information changes and flows to appear on each of the device styles.

We continue to educate our small business owners with the importance of a holistic design view – and not a desktop only view. They had to grasp the notion that the content is the most important piece of the design. It is our belief that the design should hold the content information as its top priority.

Website design needs to be subtle and clean, so not to distract from learning more about YOU and YOUR offerings. If the design overwhelms, it becomes noticeable and intrusive, takes away from your business. The design should take a back-seat to the content that is being delivered. That doesn’t mean we don’t value design. What it means, is that we use YOU and YOUR pictures, your photos, your work, your team, your portfolio, your offerings to enrich the visual aspect of the design. We use your values, culture, and integrity to find photos that match and convey more than just a picture. It’s our solid foundation to branding, and to why it’s an important piece of the design itself.

Mobile responsive website design is what you get… a clean, branded; cohesive website is what we deliver.

the mobile journey to current

With any new technology, there’s usually a few different options presented and as a collective group, we try each technology. Then we take bets on which one we feel is going to “win” out, and watch how the rest of the players use the technologies. Following the trends and the potential solutions, it was early on in our own business journey that we adopted mobile friendly as our first and only website design option and we guided our clients towards it.

If we utilize mobile technology for our websites and follow Google’s rules, we can ensure our content and offerings are served to the mobile user, as they are searching for solutions on-the-go. For the future, I already can say that if you’re not utilizing mobile technology for your website, you’re losing business and ranking. Google has high expectations in what is cohesive information to show their customers – and the rules are clear: Ensure your website is mobile friendly, ensure your site is served securely, on encrypted HTTPS, ensure your information is relevant – and your pages will be ranked and shown by Google to the right users. Google maps, Google my business, registering with these tools are critical for online sales, for digital and physical store fronts, to capture local business.

One thing for certain, Google will change the way they that expect businesses to engage with their customers. They’re dedicated to following trends to ensure that they stay relevant, so that the customer gets current information they seek. Following what Google expects, knowing which trends are the standards of the day, and keeping informed as new standards are announced and adopted, will keep us all relevant in the eyes of the consumer.

Future trends and learning exercises

Follow Google Trends to what’s trending in searches and search phrases.
Keep your content relevant to what your customers are searching for.

Tips for entrepreneurs and small business:

1. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly and responsive.
2. Make sure you are connected to both Google Analytics and Google