BUSINESS BYTES

What does a mobile-first approach look like?

  • Posted 1 year ago
  • 3 min read

As a CIO, you cannot afford to overlook the fact that mobile is where the majority of consumers are experiencing your online brand. Some stats worth noting; worldwide, there are five times as many smartphones as there are PCs and in the US alone, mobile devices account for 55% of internet usage versus 45% for PCs. Even more compelling is the fact that 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour (Source: Searchfest 2015).

In Luke Wroblewski’s book, Mobile First, he argues that we should be thinking about the mobile user first, not only because we’ll reap the rewards of mobile growth today, but because it will also prepare us for the explosive growth that is predicted in the future.

Three reasons why you should think ‘mobile first’:

1.    A ‘mobile first’ philosophy taps into current growth and prepares you for the future

Wroblewski makes a very interesting comparison in his book – he points out that while every day 1.45 million smartphone devices are activated, only 317,124 humans are born. So, smartphone growth is considerably outstripping population growth. He cites the example of Yelp, a very popular review service – currently only 7% of its total audience uses its mobile products. What’s interesting, however, is that that this 7% is responsible for 35% of total searches across all of its products. Even if you’re not convinced of the immediate value to your business right now, by thinking mobile first you’re effectively future-proofing your business.

2.    A ‘mobile first’ philosophy forces you to focus on what’s important

Wroblewski identified several mobile device constraints, including screen size and the performance of the device, which can actually enhance a user’s mobile experience. The smaller screen sizes available on mobiles force designers to eliminate the irrelevant and unhelpful aspects of their designs. Too often, companies want to fill up every available pixel and ultimately end up with cluttered sites that are hard to navigate and use.

But when developing for a mobile device, the loss of screen real estate forces the design and development teams to focus creatively on what’s really important because there simply isn’t room for any unessential elements.

Wroblewski rightly points out that in order to run your business effectively you really need to understand your customers and your business. When you design for a mobile device first it forces you into a clarity and focus in your business vision.

3.    Embracing a mobile first philosophy allows use of new capabilities

People use their mobile devices everywhere. Because of that, new opportunities are constantly emerging to better serve customers. A prime example is location detection. A mobile device can more accurately pinpoint a user’s exact location than a desktop computer, and can be used to deliver relevant information about their specific location or surroundings.

Simply put, by not embracing a mobile-first philosophy with online content, you’re risking getting left behind…