The mobile-first approach refers to the concept of building an online experience specifically for mobile before any other device or platform. As the name suggests, it prioritizes a user’s relationship with their mobile and keeps those needs in mind over other ones. The term “mobile-first” was created by Luke Wroblewski and made famous by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google in 2010.
The mobile-first approach is actually quite unorthodox - considering that most of the web experience designs are created for the desktop before they are optimized for mobile. The purpose behind the mobile-first approach is to have the flexibility to scale up rather than scale down. Not sure what that means?
Well, when you’re designing for a desktop, you obviously have a lot more space to work with. There are a lot of elements that you can take advantage of and a lot more aspects that you can completely transform. However, when you optimize that design for mobile, you will have to get rid of some essential elements, which means that the mobile experience is going to be considerably less noteworthy than the desktop experience.
On the other hand, if you use the mobile-first approach, you will be scaling up, which means that you will have a lot more freedom with the way you adapt your designs. In the mobile version, you will focus on creating a sleek and smart experience that is equipped with strong essential features. In short, you’ll have a solid foundation you can make use of to expand your experience across all platforms.
Apart from the scale-up/scale-down thing, why is the mobile-first approach so important, and why are so many businesses keen on opting for this method?
The answer to this lies in our growing dependence on mobile phones. Whether it is for entertainment, work, leisure, or communication, mobile phones are an integral part of everyone’s life. Our mobiles are always in our hands, which means that we are way more likely to discover things to buy on mobile than on desktop.
For companies, this also means that their audience is increasingly asking for a better experience. Honestly, it only makes sense to implement a mobile-first approach in your work processes!
In addition to what we discussed above, the mobile-first approach comes with a lot of other advantages such as:
However, you must also keep in mind that the mobile-first approach does have certain drawbacks and limitations. These are:
The mobile-first approach represents a shift in the attitudes of customers, and is a way for companies to compete with the changing needs of the world!
By prioritizing the mobile-first approach, you can easily stand out in the eyes of your audience and give them an optimal experience. Since the whole world spends a huge chunk of their day on mobile phones, your effort is not going to go to waste.
So - start by creating a mobile experience, and then build on that! You’ll see how beneficial it turns out for you and your platform.