Like it or not, technology has exploded over the past couple of decades. Whether it be a computer, tablet, Smartphone, or internet-ready TV, information is accessible to us in practically every direction we look. The slew of devices with which people can access the internet seems to be growing on a daily basis, and with mobile internet speeds getting faster and faster it is important to be sure your website can be viewed (and enjoyed) on mobile phones as well as large format displays. While there are a variety of practices used to build a site that is ready for the never-ending amount of display sizes, ‘Mobile First’ is all the hype.
What is Mobile First?
The ‘Mobile First’ principle begins with the design of a mobile site that is then progressively enhanced for additional screen sizes. To put it simply, the same website is being served to every device; the only difference is the manner in which the content is displayed.
Why Mobile First?
Other than the fact that mobile first designs are by nature responsive, taking the mobile first approach comes with multiple advantages. The biggest advantage to mobile first is the fact that designers and developers are able to cater specifically to the screen size in question. Smartphones just don’t have the same real estate that larger displays have. This may sound like a disadvantage at first, but really it’s not. The smaller screen size forces users to focus. As a result, content with higher importance can be emphasized on mobile devices, while content of lesser importance can be made less obtrusive, or even hidden. Other advantages to take into consideration are the native capabilities of Smartphones and tablets. Features such as multi-touch, GPS and device orientation can be built in to a site and can target users who are visiting sites on-the-go.
I need a mobile app!
No, you don’t. Ok, maybe you do, but an app isn’t necessarily the best way to relay your message for mobile users. If there isn’t anything being offered that your website can’t do, then an app isn’t the proper fit. That’s what a mobile site is for.
Mobile First in Action
All this information is great, but it’s hard to get a real understanding for mobile first without seeing it in action. Check out the following links below and see how content adapts as you adjust the width of your browser window. Better yet, visit them on your Smartphone or tablet while also viewing them on your desktop.
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