“Mobile First” in Site Design

Sep 14 2012

While attending the Online Marketing Summit in San Diego, Mambo learned of a new-ish approach to website design. “Mobile First,” conceived by Luke Wroblewski, suggests UX designers and marketers create for mobile devices before the desktop experience. More often than not web creators begin with the desktop design and then, as an afterthought, re-cast the design for mobile devices. Here are three reasons to reverse this design process:

#1: Mobile is the New Website

It has taken a few years, but a recent report by IDC & Gartners shows PC sales eroding by 4% to 6% in 2011. Additionally, the pervasiveness of mobile devices have analysts predicting that sales of mobile devices will be greater than sales of PCs in 2012, indicating that mobile is the new website.

Marketers and companies should heed this consumption trend – and adapt to the most common way that their users interact with their products and brands.

#2: Mobile Exposes the Primary Needs of the User

The constraints of mobile – smaller screens, variable load times and limited interfacing with databases – force their creators to strip down the interaction and transaction to its core. This does not mean simple design; on the contrary, infusing design with elegance and a sophisticated understanding of the user experience on mobile is paramount. That said, mobile designers do need to get back to basics, such as: How will this site be useful? What do my users need? Why have they visited my site?

Many in the industry have compared this era of mobile design to websites in the late 1990s – unmarked territory plush with new and different opportunities for brand engagement.

#3: Mobile Allows for New Applications of a Product or Service

Applications allow for new interpretation of a brand and products. It creates a platform for a product. As an example let’s look at a mobile app that accompanies a professional conference.

What was once a three-day live event with speakers and attendees in conference rooms has been transformed into useful digitization of the experience.  All presentations, schedules, community-building commenting, and note taking are in the palm of the users’ hand, with the possibility of going viral.  The service is now a product. Or, what was once a football game or cup of coffee has turned into brand entertainment, or in other words, marketing.  New definitions of products come alive in the mobile context.

And they are simple. If done well mobile sites deliver an engaging and appropriate brand experience, reinterpret a product and provide great usability.

To discuss your mobile presence and how to augment it, contact Mambo at

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