Does Planing For Mobile First Really Work?

Mobile first is a controversial topic that keeps popping up in the Fly Full Circle office, and with webbies (also a controversial term in the office) in general.  Does it pay off to build your website for mobile first and then build on that for desktop? Traditionally websites were built for desktop and then eventually, if at all, optimised for mobile. Where as now as mobile devices become more popular a lot of developers are starting with mobile first.

Over 51% of the world is now using mobile devices over laptop or desktop to view websites.

Mobile devices are now become more and more prominent, with over 51% of the world using mobile devices rather than PC to view websites. Although 51% doesn’t sound a lot, since 2010 mobile visits to e-retail sites has grown by 2,000%, it makes sense for your business to have a mobile website. But does building a mobile website first still sound a little preemptive?

Well apparently not, there are many benefits to creating a mobile site first. To start with it helps your prepare for new mobile opportunities that have emerged and also for fast growth as mobile takes over. This leads to you having to prioritise your products and focus on what you can offer to the customer due to the constraints of a mobile website, for example one constraint is not being able to lay out all the information you have for your audience on a mobile site.

Building mobile first could be difficult because on a smaller platform you have to choose carefully which information to show.

On the other hand starting with a smaller site optimised for mobile and then building from that to create a desktop can be a lot more difficult as selecting what you believe to be more important mobile audiences is a huge task. When done correctly audience specific content can be a fantastic tool to guide your users through the site easily and effortlessly.

The downside to mobile first is, it does limit your content, which if you have a lot of information to give out this can be detrimental to the audience and website compatibility. Second to try and build from such a small wire frame site and expand it to a desktop site it can be difficult to keep the same styling and feel to the site which may take away from the personality of your business.

There are pros and cons for each argument at the end of the day and until desktop becomes obsolete, mobile first will always have a counter argument.

Overall mobile first is a fantastic way to optimise your website if your audience is primarily on mobile internet and if the content is done to target this audience then all should go hand in hand to build up from the mobile to the desktop site. everything has its downside but like a lot of things trial and error with mobile sites can be very beneficial.