Approaching a mobile-first strategy for your Drupal website is imperative. Since 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, businesses that want to strive must ensure that they optimize their site for mobile. 

Why is mobile optimization important?

A website designed for desktop use can be non-functional on a phone or tablet. Building a mobile-friendly site that looks good regardless of how users access it is no longer optional for companies that want to deliver high-quality digital experiences. 

"If I were to start Drupal from scratch today, I'd build it for mobile experiences first and desktop experience second." - Dries Buytaert, founder and lead developer of the Drupal CMS

There are plenty of benefits and competitive advantages of implementing a mobile-first approach to your Drupal website. We'll name a few:

  • Positively impacts search ranking
  • Improves loading times
  • Increases visibility across all devices

Enhancing mobile performance for Drupal websites is not rocket science, but if you're a rookie in web development, hiring a Drupal developer to help you implement some of the steps highlighted in this article may be the safest strategy. 

Without further ado, let's start to learn how you can optimize your Drupal website for mobile use.

 

1. First things first: you need a mobile menu

Start your mobile optimization journey by installing a mobile menu that enables navigation links to be displayed accurately on narrow screens. 

A popular style for mobile menus is the 'hamburger' icon. This type of menu is substituted by a symbol with three horizontal lines when the screen narrows to a particular width. When clicked on, the icon displays the mobile-friendly main menu of the Drupal website.

Want to use this type of menu? Start by installing the Responsive Menus module and download the tar.gz.file. 

In your dashboard, open the Extend tab and select the Install New Module button

Lastly, use the file browser to upload the tar.gz file. You should now be ready to use the module to customize and style your website's menu. 

Remember that you can also hire Drupal developers at any stage of your optimization process to help you streamline your operations. 

 

2. Don't ignore code minification. 

One of the top priorities for mobile site functionality is quick loading times. As CSS or HTML files can get bulky, removing unnecessary elements from your website's code can help it render more fastly. 

There are a few steps for successfully minifying your code:

  • Install the Minify module 
  • Download the tar.gz file and unarchive it
  • Move the resulting folder into your website's Drupal modules section. 
  • Enable the module from your dashboard

You also have the option to enable the minify module to start working automatically. This will assist your Drupal website in loading quicker on mobile devices and thus improving the user experience. 

 

3. Browser cache implementation for mobile-friendly Drupal websites.

The next step in optimizing your Drupal site for mobile is to implement browser caching, which allows a user's browser to store data, so it doesn't have to repeatedly download the same files. 

This reduces latency if, for example, your site has an extensive background image. The browser caching allows the picture to be stored on each visitor's device, so it doesn't have to be downloaded every time the user visits your site. 

Browser caching is a built-in tool in Drupal, and although you can configure it in your control panel, we recommend that you consult the official guide before doing it or hire a Drupal developer to help you. 

 

4. Consider image optimization. 

Websites that contain many large image files can have longer loading times on mobiles. You don't want that if your goal is to provide high-quality experiences for your mobile users. Therefore, you can start optimizing your images to accelerate your site's performance.

How can you reduce the size of your photos without jeopardizing their quality? It's actually easy. Drupal's ImageAPI Optimize module helps you manage your images before uploading them onto the website. 

You only have to download the module's tar.gz file, install, and enable it in your dashboard. To automatically optimize your images for mobile devices, make sure to select ImageAPI Optimize as the default toolkit. 

When creating responsive images, the amount of space an image fills on the screen is significant. Drupal lets you use @media rules to modify images depending on each user's screen size. This high level of personalization is allowed by the Breakpoint and Responsive Images modules. 

 

Why Drupal 9 might be the best option for a mobile-first approach

The latest version of Drupal provides optimized modules and features for mobile devices that enhance the user experience and address modern customers' needs. 

Among the key benefits of Drupal 9 for mobile optimization are:

  • Improved speed of content delivery
  • Responsive design for various screen's widths 
  • Editing content on mobile is easier 

In conclusion, if you want to deliver high-quality, personalized user web experiences in the modern era, optimizing your website for mobile devices is a must. Optasy can help you build a mobile-first approach that satisfies the need for speed and high functionality that today's mobile users expect. 

Image credit: deeptuts on Pixabay

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