It is all about the user and the experience they encounter on a website. These days, users are paying bills, managing money, shopping and tons more. They are interacting unlike never and users demand that websites are easy to use and navigate through. Users are on the go while they are multi-tasking on their devices. These devices that users can access the web on go range from smartphones, tablets, and laptops. There are even smartwatches and that allow users to message and listen to music on the go.
Mobile first development is web design / development that is targeted, generated, created for users on the go. It is a radical shift in the web development industry, by taking what is needed, the foundation of a website and building with the basics first. Think of it like a house, a house that just needs the basics such as water, electricity, walls, and a roof. That is what mobile first development means. You are developing for the smallest device then working your way up the technology tower to desktop instead of targeting desktop users first then mobile users on a smaller screen. You begin development for smaller screens first.
It is important to begin your web development with the mindset of mobile first. Google has already rolled out important ranking algorithms that will base the rank of a website that will pull up in search depending on if the mobile first approach has been taken. According to Smashing Magazine blog author Suzanne Scacca,
“With mobile traffic increasing on local business websites, web developers and designers are now tasked with a new responsibility. It’s no longer enough for websites to rank well — they need to rank well in local search results, too.”
Developing a mobile first website can help you with your rankings while at the same time gain retention of its users. Developing for mobile first allows for a site to developed for users as they should be and not developed for just search engines. Everything developed for the web, should be developed for the end users.
There are a few disadvantages that come along with mobile first development. Because mobile first design means the basics, developers must be careful on the load time of a website. This means that you may not be able to add a bunch of images to a page if it causes the load time to increase. Not good if your website is targeted towards photography or photo galleries.
It can also cause issues if the site owner wants a one-page website. Cramming everything onto one page increases the load time and speed. This will cause users to leave the site. You also do not want the site to use a ton of user’s mobile data.
Scacca, S. (2018, June 28). How Mobile Web Design Affects Local Search (And What To Do About It). Retrieved from Smashing Magazine: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/06/local-search-mobile-web-design/