If You Aren’t Thinking Mobile First, You’re Doing It Wrong
By Alex Iskold
It is mind blowing to me how many startups and big companies get mobile totally wrong. Take a look at this tweet from Benedict Evans:
This is mobile commerce — currently the worst experience on mobile, but it is still growing at a huge pace. People are still buying stuff on mobile despite the clunky mobile shopping experience.
Next, go read a great post by Evans titled “Mobile Is Eating the World.” What this means is that your customers are increasingly coming to you via mobile devices. This applies to everyone — from consumer apps to enterprise technologies. Even if your customers are going to spend millions on your enterprise license, they still are likely to first click on a link on their phone, while sitting on a couch and not paying attention to some TV show.
Responsive design + app = You are doing it wrong.
Lets get straight to the point: Responsive design and having an app isn’t a solution for your mobile problem. It is not good enough and likely just plain wrong.
To be truly mobile-friendly, you need to think mobile first from the ground up. Mobile-first doesn’t mean I figured out what to remove from the desktop design so that it fits. Mobile-first means thinking hard about how to present your brand and product on mobile screens. Then coming up with the absolutely best possible design for it.
After that, you can think about if it makes sense to have the app — sometimes it may not. If you choose to have the app, think about how and when to up-sell it properly. And finally, think about how to expand your brand to desktop. The desktop is the last step.
The mobile web information challenge
The beauty and the challenge of mobile is that real estate is really small. It is beautiful, because less is more, and because it is finally liberating. It is challenging, because we didn’t grow up with less is more, we came from Windows, from desktop and from larger screens that afforded bloatware.
Because there was a lot more space on the desktop, we thought about how we could add complex menus and a ton of information and graphics and text. Well, the problem is there is just no space on mobile for any of it.
If you take a standard desktop website and make it responsive, it will be useless — unless you remove 90 percent of it. Here in lies the secret to building a great mobile experience. Instead of figuring out what to remove from your desktop web site, just throw it away completely, and re-think the whole user experience from scratch.