“Design for mobile first” – that was the advice of a speaker I got to see at a Google presentation last year. Since that time (and even before) mobile has rapidly increased in terms of usage and penetration. So, I have to ask the question – would you really build a website today without ensuring that it was absolutely usable through mobile. I hope not.
Being usable for mobile can mean a lot of things and brings up a lot of questions.
- What do your customers want and what are they doing with mobile?
- Do you want to replicate the exact same experience and all of the content from your website as you do on mobile?
- What experience do you want your customers to have when using mobile?
- How do you define mobile – tablets, phones, apps, other?
- Should you only build for mobile?
- Where are the trends going with your users / industry / competitors?
- Are there reasons you wouldn’t want your users interacting with you through mobile? Would they understand and agree?
- Who are the other ‘partners’ in the experience you provide for your consumer and are they ready for mobile (for instance if you only control a certain percent of the content b/c of syndication or partnerships would the partner content be mobile ready if you went)?
Those are some good thought starters, but really it comes down to your users and what they’re trying to do, and when (as most good design should). Certain experiences practically dictate mobile, like giving your users an opportunity to compare prices or read reviews while they’re in a physical store. In other cases the demographic lends itself more to mobile – teens and mobile usage for instance.
No matter what, mobile is not to be ignored and should be an integral a part of your overall plan and strategy. If you’re just beginning a project or even about to launch, make sure mobile is thought through, before you launch. If you don’t, your users will let you know loud and clear – or they just won’t use it and that will be telling as well.
I particularly loved the idea I mentioned before of “designing for mobile first” because one of the many beliefs in that philosophy is making sure that you design to the core essence and in the simplest way possible. Giving users what they want, in the simplest way is a sure way to win.