What is Mobile First Design? Why Does it Matter?
When I was growing up, my Dad always told me to do the most difficult chore first. I still use this philosophy today when running through my to-do list. Design teams consider a similar approach every time they sit down to create a new website
In this case, we call it "mobile first design".
It is important to understand "mobile first design" for what it is. Design agencies and their customers can work better together when both share the same understanding of a mobile first approach.
What is Mobile First Design?
Mobile first is a development strategy that places the design for mobile devices as a priority over desktop design. Because it is much easier to start small and grow, the design team likes to begin with the smartphone. It is easier to design the interface and graphical assets on this smaller canvas, and then fit the design to the larger screens of tablets and desktops.
Mobile first design is a best practice when creating a responsive website that needs to react to the user’s behavior and viewing environment, which includes screen size, platform and orientation. A mobile first approach can also be used for email newsletter design, mobile apps, infographic design and more.
What is it not?
Let's cover what "mobile first design" is not. It is not designing content for mobile only. It is also not building or releasing a mobile-version of a site or application before the desktop version. Designing for mobile only is better defined as vertical content design or mobile only design, which is used for platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories
Why Does Mobile First Design Matter?
By 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all U.S. digital ad spending (Marketing Land). This is important because businesses need to learn how to create effective mobile content if they want to have successful campaigns. Marketers who understand mobile first design know that it is important for their audience to have the best user experience possible, on any device. 52% of customers are less likely to engage with the company because of bad mobile experience (WOW Local Marketing)
Consuming content should be a natural experience. The majority of growth in digital media consumption is now being generated by the use of mobile devices, with desktop computers increasingly becoming a secondary (Marketing Land). By taking a mobile first approach, you are going to give your audience a better digital experience on the device they prefer to use the most!
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