Do You Need A Mobile First Development Strategy?
While many businesses are aware of the growth of mobile usage over the past few years, that awareness does not always result in a shift in approach. As both a website development company and a mobile application development company, we wanted to chime in on the topic of do you need a mobile first development strategy in today’s world?
What exactly are we talking about?
A mobile first development strategy means that you are developing business concepts at the mobile level first and then expanding outwards. For example, if you have a business that sells items, a mobile first strategy means you design your website based on mobile users first and then scale the site properly outwards from smart phones to tablets to laptops and desktops.
The same concept works when you have an app as a primary interfacing option for customers. You focus on how the app relates to your mobile site and then the rest of your business first. The design is always caters to the mobile users and then slowly branches out towards the desktop users to ensure that maximum functionality takes place at the mobile level.
The old method isn’t practical
The way many businesses have approached mobile has been as an addition to their existing strategy, and with the way people are currently connecting to the internet, we feel that is a mistake.
For example, your business has been around for a decade and you have been successful. You have a great website that has worked well, but understanding the shift towards mobile you decide take your existing ‘full size’ website and attempt to scale it down to a mobile site. You also decide to add an app as an interface method.
The risk with this method is that your site is less effective to the mobile crowd and often the app is more of an afterthought. There is a huge difference in building a mobile first website versus trying to strip down an existing site to make it workable at the mobile level because of limitations in processing power, size and navigation issues. You end up losing a great deal of effectiveness compared from building up from the mobile base.
Benefits of going mobile first
The biggest benefit of going with a mobile first strategy is that your focus in on where technology is going, not where it has been. Your business will be in a better position to take advantage of changes for greater sales or more streamlined processes in your workflow. It is also much easier to add pieces to your new framework rather than trying to make things fit when working from the top down.
While some people think a mobile first strategy is primarily for ecommerce with a focus on online sales, the power of mobile devices can streamline businesses in a large number of ways:
- Payment methods – E-wallets are quickly becoming the new Debit or Credit Card making payments easier at anywhere from Starbucks to Home Depot.
- Customer service – More people are looking for the convenience of handling customer service issues from a mobile device no matter what the business. You can even provide apps for customer service people in brick and mortar locations on the floor to check stock, look at arrival dates and more.
- Inventory – Any type of business that needs inventory control, from package delivery to tracking fresh food stock, can make use of specialized apps or internal mobile sites to make jobs easier and more efficient.
- Remote work – More businesses are using mobile devices for remote connections for their workers from cable companies to pest control to handle everything from billing to service connections.
- Sales – More people are shopping online now than ever and having a mobile site or app will only enhance their experience even if they are actually in your store. From push notifications to comparing prices, you can push yourself ahead of the competition by providing consumers the information and service they want at their fingertips.
The bottom line is that in the U.S. internet usage time is clearly in favor of mobile users with mobile having over a 51% share and desktops hovering at around 45%. You do need a mobile first development strategy moving forward because if consumers are going mobile first, then you want to be there as well to meet them.
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