What is a Mobile First Strategy

Mobile first strategy is trend in website development where designing a website for smartphones, tablets and mobile devices takes priority over desktops. With a mobile first strategy, a web designer will build a site given the constraints of a mobile platform (small screen, slower processors) and then either copy or improve the site for desktop use.

Breaking Down Mobile First Strategy

In a mobile first strategy, a company's web presence is designed for mobile devices first and desktop second. The desktop website design is made as simple as possible. It can then be upgraded with additional features that are only accessible to desktop users. This is in contrast to a desktop first strategy in which a website is built to the company’s satisfaction and then has its non-compatible elements stripped to create a mobile site.

Mobile first strategy also takes advantage of technology that is specific to mobile users (GPS, data-collecting, built-in cameras), to create features that are unavailable to desktop users. Such interconnectivity and convenience helps make smartphones indispensable and can help foster greater engagement among users. A mobile first strategy also facilitates connections with customers, as smartphones are always close at hand and for many are the first thing people grab in the morning. The data and information that smartphones allow companies to collect can be used to personalize experiences for customers, which can lead to a better user experience and greater revenue.

Mobile First Strategy Advantages

The power of a mobile first strategy is that it allows companies to interact with and have dialogs with consumers in a new, efficient and more meaningful ways. The ubiquity of mobile devices enables finely targeted communications that help consumers make more informed purchase decisions faster. No longer will companies need to cast a wide net through massive marketing campaigns to promote their products and hope potential buyers will follow through on them.

Mobile First Strategy and E-commerce

A mobile first strategy is essential to e-commerce. For example, Amazon.com found that during the 2015 holiday season some 70% of purchases were made using mobile devices. As of 2017, about 75% of internet use came from mobile devices. The keys to a mobile first strategy are the functionality and features of mobile sites and apps. Specifically, any mobile first strategy must focus on giving mobile users what they want and doing it quickly. Fast loading webpages that take up little screen space and are low bandwidth are essential. Integration of supporting and facilitating apps and services, such as payment services or online reviews, is also essential.