In primitive times, before the development of mobile devices, websites were built to support viewing by desktop computers. As more users began interfacing with phones, tablets, and laptops, these older versions of websites have become outdated. They are too large or small, depending on the device, and awkward for practical use on the small screens. Luke Wroblewski, CEO at Input Factory Inc., came up with a revolutionary new concept. Mobile first, the idea that you should develop websites from a mobile platform at the beginning, has become a movement in the computer programming industry. Using new programming languages, and Responsive Web Design, creators can enhance the user experience on mobile devices. In a sense, it is a form of progressive enhancement.
Mobile first increases a website's productivity and ease of use for mobile devices. This includes simple changes, like linking phone numbers in the site to be dialed straight from your mobile phone. Other conveniences as well, font size, screen size formatting, and unrestricted use are all indicators of a good web site based on mobile development first.
There are many benefits to the mobile first approach. For one, by default it provides a consistent user experience across platforms. As well, users can use the website in a way that allows them to see it more easily. It also lets the user see only what they need, without extraneous features that aren't needed on a mobile site. For instance, mobile users may be out looking for a certain movie, or restaurant, and would find it beneficial to have a number to call easily, or a quick way to order tickets online.
Mobile first does require an almost complete overhaul of existing website programming. This can be a hardship for companies who don't have the time or know-how to generate new programs, but it is well worth the time and effort to connect more closely with the largest number of users. This is especially true in developing countries, where almost all new computer sales are mobile devices. Since the World Wide Web is universal, making your site compatible with portable devices is the best way to stay on top of the market.
In today's on-the-go culture, website development needs to keep up with the progress being made in new technology. Mobile first guarantees that you'll be starting where the growth is happening, and not trying to downsize the work you've done every time a new device hits the stores.
Written By: Scott Whitehead