When we talk to clients about building their new Drupal website, we take a moment to discuss our mobile-first approach. Initially, there can be a look of concern as they think “our analytics states the majority of our users are not using mobile devices”. Well, let me start off by addressing this concern. Even if every single one of your users never accesses your website via a mobile device (a virtually non-existent possibility on today's web), a mobile-first approach is still the proper approach.
Our mobile-first workflow ensures your users viewing on laptops or desktops have an even better experience. Allow me to elaborate...
Even if every single one of your users never accesses your website via a mobile device (a virtually non-existent possibility on today's web), a mobile-first approach is still the proper approach.
Design, development and content strategy can all benefit from a mobile-first approach.
What Does Our Mobile-first Approach Mean?
We think mobile-first for all areas of a new Drupal website build; design, development, and content strategy can all benefit from a mobile-first approach.
Mobile-first Design for Drupal
Designing mobile-first forces the prioritization of page elements.
Try this task: Sketch the elements of your home page on a letter-sized blank sheet of paper. Next, re-sketch the page on a post-it note. Keep elements legible and useable. You'll have to prioritize what stays versus what goes.
Our prediction is you ended up:
- reducing the number of elements on the page
- simplifying the user interface
- prioritizing and clarifying your calls to action
- refining content to be more concise
These four items are not simply worthwhile goals to try to achieve for mobile devices accessing your website. They are worthwhile goals for your website, per se. By forcing yourself to think mobile-first, you (inherently) apply sound design principles.
Our Drupal UX design team specialists use a variety of techniques when designing new Drupal websites, including:
- card sorting
- stakeholder interviews
- content audits
- user personas
- user scenarios
- user testing
- clickable wireframes
Mobile-first Development for Drupal
"Use progressive enhancement rather than graceful degradation." - anon
What the heck does that mean?
Simply put, it means: In order to focus on the content, we develop a baseline experience for all devices which meets pre-defined user and business goals. Let's be clear here... this DOES NOT mean dumbing down the experience for everyone. After all, it’s about enhancement, isn't it?!
If a device viewing your website allows for more enhanced functionality then this is layered over the baseline experience. So, everybody gets to see the awesome content and then device-dependant, advanced attributes are layered over the top.
Using this approach means your site excludes nobody and everybody is able to see the good stuff… your content.
At our Drupal web development company, we create custom Drupal websites which are both mobile-first and fully responsive. We feel it is the best way to ensure our clients' websites launch in a focused, clear, and scalable environment.
Mobile-first Content Strategy for Drupal
Drupal is awesome for creating content! You can do so much with it. However, just because you can have 500 different page types along with sliders on every other page doesn’t mean you should do it. Focus on creating content which would get a place on that post-it-note-sized layout.
With every piece of content you think about publishing on your website ask yourself, “Does it help our user or our business achieve a documented goal?” Only if the answer is, “Yes.” should you consider publishing it.
An effective content strategy has to be manageable. Marketing departments are often responsible for myriad information channels. Streamlining your creation process (thereby, enabling content creators to produce only items of value which tie back to defined and measurable goals) is key to keeping it manageable. It is also key to keeping your message consistent.
If you have a Drupal website or are thinking about Drupal as a framework for your new project, applying a mobile-first approach to all project elements will pay huge dividends.
Have questions about Drupal or using a mobile-first approach? Call 508-624-6033 or contact us.