Why Mobile-First Design Is Customer-First Design

The path to purchase is now more complex than ever before, with users indulging in more and more micro-moments of research on their mobile devices before booking a trip or hotel stay. 

Creating and managing a robust digital presence in an increasingly mobile-oriented environment has become a big challenge for hoteliers. 

Mobile-first design for independent hotels’ websites must bring the best user experience while achieving maximum engagement, regardless of which device your guests using.

It's therefore essential that your hotel delivers a friction-free experience to guests at every interaction with your brand and website. 

That’s why more and more businesses are adapting a ‘mobile-first approach’ to the design of their websites.
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What is mobile-first design?

It’s a process of designing for mobile experiences before desktop experiences. The thinking behind this is designing and building a website based on where most potential users will see your site first. 

Mobile-first design pushes revenue higher

The key principles of mobile-first design are to provide a streamlined and speedy mobile site with quick and easy navigation. 

It should enable mobile users’ journeys within 2 clicks or less; and engage them with simple, stylish design that clearly indicates where to go and what to do without intensive scrolling.

This will have a major positive effect on your website’s bounce rate and other engagement indicators.

Guests are more likely to book hotels with mobile-friendly websites; our research confirms that developing a mobile optimised website increases direct bookings.

Unnecessary barriers may be restricting the success of your hotel’s key online revenue channel. 

User-orientated design requires an understanding of how customers interact with your business to complete a transaction.

What is responsive design?

While responsive and mobile-first design are trying to achieve the same goal, it’s their approaches which differ. 

Responsive design approach is a design method which enables the screens of different devices to automatically adjust the way they display content, in a way that makes users feel comfortable. 

This greatly reduces users’ operations like panning, zooming, and scrolling when browsing the web.

Journey-driven design

Luxury guests have little time and tend to research on the move with their smartphones. 

The entire journey your guests take before booking will involve a variety of platforms; on average it involves four devices and they will move from a small screen to a desktop or laptop to complete the transaction.

Journey-driven design is an extension of the mobile-first design process. 

By examining customer interactions per device for each section of your website through a combination of heatmaps, conversion and event tracking, you build a clear picture of the paths your customers follow on the site.

Identifying the touchpoints where visitors arrive and leave enables designers to better adapt the content for the user. 

Delving deeper by looking at the devices they use, and emphasising the content appropriate to each device, further improves the user experience.

Design is nothing without speed

Building visually appealing and lighter pages that load faster has a direct impact on the conversion rates of your website. 

Recent studies by Google indicate that the number of visitors leaving a page increases dramatically once it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

As you can imagine, there is a significant gap between what a customer will tolerate versus how information is currently being provided to them by online businesses. 

The development of the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative by Google is intended to bridge this gap. 

AMP is simply a trimmed down version of HTML which excludes the use of slow loading elements (such as JavaScript) which are the most common cause of slow loading pages.

Ultimately, focusing design around your guests’ wants and needs on mobile devices will make a big difference to your direct bookings. 

If you would like to understand how Aró can help improve your online design and revenue, please contact us.