Mobile First is the idea that web sites should first be designed for mobile devices, including only those tasks/items that website visitors use most. Then as screen real estate increases, add in tasks/features as needed based on user priority.
This means the site will work (to some degree) on that shiny new web-enabled gizmo sitting under your neighbor’s Christmas tree 4 years from now.
- Allows websites to reach more people (77% of the world’s population has a mobile device, 85% of phones sold in 2011 equipped with browser)
- Forces designers to focus on core content and functionality (What do you do when you lose 80% of your screen real estate?)
- Lets designers innovate and take advantage of new technologies (geolocation, touch events and more)
By first creating an experience that prioritizes a worst-case mobile scenario, you ensure that your users will be able to accomplish their goals despite a lot of factors working against them. In short, if you can support the mobile web, you can support anything.
According to Luke Wroblewski, a leading proponent of mobile first design, going mobile first:
- prepares you for the explosive growth and new opportunities emerging on mobile today,
- forces you to focus and prioritize your products by embracing the constraints inherent in mobile design, and
- allows you to deliver innovative experiences by building on new capabilities native to mobile devices and modes of use.