Mobile First Webinar Recap

Aug 3, 2012

Federal agency mobile implementation is an important aspect of the Digital Government Strategy, so last week the Mobile Gov team and Digital Gov University partnered for a “Mobile First” Webinar. A “mobile first” approach is where new websites and applications are designed for mobile devices first, instead of designed for the traditional desktop. Representatives from government and the private sector spoke about what it means to be “mobile first.” You can view the entire webinar below, but here are some highlights:

Ken Fang from Mobomo Inc. talked about the importance of a mobile first approach, citing the increasing percent of traffic routing from mobile devices. Fang proposed three steps to consider when choosing a device and platform to develop.

  1. Consider your audience needs and remembering who and what you are making the app for.
  2. Think about what kind of content will be sent out.
  3. Think platform strategy —answering whether you develop for one device or choose a different route such as an API or responsive design.

Janice Clark discussed the State Department’s efforts in creating the site.

  • State realized that they were getting a lot of traffic (more than 300,000 hits) via mobile and decided, with strong support from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to develop a mobile site based on the most seasoned stuff of the site.
  • Clark said it just “made sense” to start the development of mobile. Also, a factor in the decision was their audience, most of which are in airports and may not have the time to sit down and find a desktop computer.

Kim Taylor from the U.S. Department of Agriculture talked about how the agency was receiving a lot of traffic to the site via mobile devices and decided to make the AskKaren project mobile.

  • Taylor said that similar to the State Department, USDA leadership was supportive of the idea and allocated proper funds to pursue the endeavor.
  • USDA will adopt a “mobile first” approach in the future.