Thursday, May 31, 2012

Building Mobile First

Yesterday at the NETC2012 lunch, the keynote speaker was Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) who gave a great talk on webpages and compelling reasons to consider developing first for mobile and second for desktop (from his book Mobile First).  Access from mobile devices is outpacing access from desktop, and many users have their first interactions with your web presence via a mobile device.  I knew this, but as usual, I didn't put that into action beyond "knowing" the statistics.  I am used to developing websites, and than opening my smartphone and logging on to see how it looks on mobile.  However, realistically, as Luke pointed out, most mobile users are going to be looking at your website for potentially different information than what they would if they were at the desktop.  Different in that on a mobile device, you may be looking for specific blasts of information and not the whole "story" of the agency/organization/site.  

I thought his point was important.  If sites are being accessed more through mobile than through a desktop, doesn't that change the design considerations for both?  Or at least compel one to think about designing first for mobile?  For me the answer is yes.  I look at the websites that I have some design control in and ask myself some of the things Luke suggested.  

  1. What would a mobile user be looking for?
  2. What is the value of a "mini" representation of my websites versus  time and consideration on a mobile version?
Venn it...sorry for the rotation!
 I have usually thought about site design in terms of visual pleasure and functionality.  Is it possible to achieve both on mobile?  And if so, how?  Luke gave some advice on using thinks like Venn  diagrams to distinguish what mobile users and desktop users might have in common and in contrast.  How does your mobile presentation support your users?  

Something to think about. 

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