The answer is quite simple. It means designing first for the smallest screens and then working your way up to designing for desktops. If you think about it, that’s quite opposite of what is usually done since the designing process is done on desktop in most cases.
However, don’t confuse it with responsive design. Responsive design means making sure that the design is responsive on all screens and sizes but it always starts and prioritizes the size of the desktop screen.
How do we start the email design process, you might ask?
First and foremost, the mobile-first approach is in fact a content-first approach, which automatically means that it is a user-first approach. The heart of the design is the main content, and by knowing that, you get closer to the reason why the readers are consuming the content, and how to make it more enjoyable for them.
Of course, we wouldn’t be as awesome as we are if we didn’t share some practical tips that will help you nail the mobile-first approach.
- First, start by designing for the targeted audience. What does this mean? Put yourself in their shoes and think about what is the most important content that they want to see? Apply that in the clearest and most straightforward way possible.
- Continue with a clear reading path that will walk the user through the visual hierarchy of the elements. We all know how we all lose interest with every scroll that we make, so make sure to put the most important elements first.
- Leave more space around buttons and hyperlinks, and remember that fingers (unfortunately) are not mouse cursors (yet!), so there is no need to create the hovering effects which we all love. :)
- And in the end, look at the email as if you’re looking at a landing page. It should be easy and pleasant to use, read, and go through.