Taking a mobile first approach to your business might help you re-imagine your entire business model.
I’m sat on my daily commute as I type this post. I’m surrounded by people cradling their mobile phones, eyes lit by the screens in front of them. Some may be catching up with friends. Others reading the morning’s top headlines. There may even be someone transferring money to a friend for last night’s dinner.
As internationally-recognized digital product leader Luke Wroblewski said in his 2011 guidebook, ‘Mobile First’:
"Mobile devices are our true personal computer: always with us, connected to the network, and filled with new capabilities for getting things done, communicating with each other, and just killing some time".
Seven years have passed since Wroblewski published his observations on the multiplicity of mobile usage and yet they’re still as relevant. Mobile first technology has shifted the paradigm. It has transformed every aspect of daily life, from how we wake up to how we take in information, from the way the markets sit to how we monitor our health and well-being. The universality of mobile devices is just one of many reasons as to why going mobile first will help your business.
In this post, I’ll look to outline several others before assessing We Are Mobile First’s own mobile first approach.
The way people use their phones has changed drastically. People are no longer just using their mobile devices to browse social media channels or watch a quick clip on Youtube. People are reading longform articles and accessing content-rich websites on-the-go. They’re searching for better deals on their household bills and making important decisions via the tap of a screen.
By going mobile first, you’re making yourself available to consumers and offering them a unique user experience – whether they’re reclining on their sofa or navigating bustling city streets. If you aren’t creating products/services with your users and their movements in mind, you aren’t going to be very successful.
The smaller screen is no longer considered a constraint as it allows you to streamline your services. You’re forced to prioritize your services and ditch any clutter thanks to the supposed limitations of the display. In assessing what it is your customers want from a mobile view, you’re also able to re-assess your desktop content too. What is cluttering up your site? How much information is too much information? This helps to create a seamless experience across platforms.
Considering that the average person is now used to consuming information in Tweet-length bulletins, brevity is bang on trend and desirable again. Mobile first design is thus cleaner, the copy is often more straight-forward, and consumers are able to access services much more efficiently.
Your industry may have untapped potential.
Shifting to a mobile first philosophy could innovate the existing consumer experience within your particular field. You could be taking hours of pen-to-paper to a simple touch-of-a-button.
For example, we worked with Inshur on an app that could insure NYC’s commercial drivers from their palm of their hand and, in turn, helped to revolutionize the commercial car insurance industry. Inshur acknowledged that the taxi/rideshare insurance process was much too complicated, often involving several rounds of paperwork. They also recognized that their target market were rarely at a desk in front of a computer. They were always mobile, especially with the rise of services like Uber and other rideshare apps. A mobile first platform would set them apart from their competitors.
Your creative imagination may be the only thing stopping you from tapping into a gap in the mobile first market and thus expanding your business.
Going mobile first may seem like a lot of work. There’s a lot to consider, sure, but it can also transform existing products too. You don’t necessarily have to change the bulk of what you offer.
Your product may already be partially mobile-facing but perhaps not entirely responsive. Or maybe it’s halfway there but in need of another round of development. We can help!
People can use your product or service, etc, from wherever they are. Knowing how your users are going to use the information, and from where, can help you to tailor a product that is more relevant and responsive.
Going mobile first opens up a whole new realm of opportunity. You can create mobile-specific price plans and subscriptions, tailor your services to clients on-to-go, and make your interface about taking action as opposed to finding out extensive information.
Mobile first products can take full advantage of all the sensors a modern mobile phone is equipped with. Need a customer to prove their address, send a document, or scan their ID? The built-in camera can be used right there and then to capture the data needed in an instant. Worried about security? The built-in fingerprint, or device passcode, is perfect for ensuring that you are interacting with the right customer. Need to contact your customer without bothering them? Mobile push notifications and in-app chat make for the perfect non-intrusive approach. Want to provide directions? Your app can have turn-by-turn directions embedded directly into it.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to mobile technology!
It’s now easier than ever to take your business mobile first thanks to companies like us! Our established team share a passion for iterative and agile development and have a keen interest in lean and efficient working practices, which allows us to be responsive and adaptable.
We do all the hard work when it comes to finding the experts and keeping them happy. We have also established an app fabrication pipeline, complete with all of the complicated technical bits, that helps us to deliver to a continuous high standard. You don’t have to go it alone or wade through tick boxes and complicated processes to get where you want to be!
Whilst it’s easy to see the benefits of going mobile first, it can be confusing as to when to take the leap. In our opinion, you’re good to go when you’ve:
In all honesty, you should be thinking of taking your business mobile first sooner rather than later. Mobile technology is the present, and the future, and you definitely don’t want your business to be left behind!
Still unsure of what your first steps should be? We can help! Contact us for advice, consultancy and prototyping to help kickstart your transformation: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We take a mobile first approach to everything we create, from the minute a client comes to us with an idea to the delivery of the product.
We stick to a tried-and-tested method when it comes to this approach.
We think from a user-centered point of view when it comes to design, in order to build a product that serves its users to the best of its ability, so whenever a project lands on our desks we ask the following:
Who are the users? What’s the context of use? What tasks do they want to perform and what information do they need? What are the limitations?
Asking ourselves these questions during the initial development phase means that we are able to really focus on the usability of mobile technology and mobile first products.
We are responsive to both client and industry requirements and adaptable to any project or industry pivots that may arise. Mobile technology is continually advancing so, in order to deliver the best product possible, we make it our job to stay informed.
Each project is different so we adapt our understanding and working practices accordingly, in order to acknowledge the individual needs of our clients.
Discussion is key to any project, particularly during the development process. Our small multidisciplinary team work together to ensure that we are being respectful of client requirements. Discussion also ensures that we create products that are both cutting edge and reliable.
Mistakes are discovered and rectified efficiently, as each product is bug-tested and signed off by several team members, allowing for a better user experience.
We create but, most importantly, we prototype. A prototype is worth more than a thousand meetings. We believe that strong, simple and ergonomic builds are the best. They capture not only our attention but that of the consumer, too.
By keeping our mobile first builds simple, we able to create products that are more accessible.
We test as soon as we can, using wireframes and low-level prototypes, to receive prompt feedback. This allow us to iterate efficiently and adapt to any further requirements.
It also helps us to distinguish what is important to the build and what is complementary. This, again, helps us to create a finished product that is usable and something that consumers can rely on.
Our iterative approach ensures we deliver on time and to a high standard. Each project is broken down into features and from these features we agree their priority and whether or not they will make up a releasable product (Minimum Viable Product). This prevents us from delays from creating features of lower value. We, instead, release early and continually improve and update. This helps it get to market rapidly and kickstarts the customer-driven improvements as soon as possible.
We aren’t entirely mobile-focused.
For example, we helped create Ed Sheeran’s infamous loop pedal, Chewie II. The original still worked but the internals needed to be conceptualized and developed into a more bespoke piece of kit. The pedal is now an integral ingredient in Ed’s live performances and has since gone on to tour the world!
Having our fingers in more than one mobile-shaped pie means we have a wider pool of knowledge to draw from. This helps us to connect with businesses in the early stages of shifting to the mobile first world.
There’s never been a better time to take your business mobile first! Will you be taking your business mobile first? If so, we’d love to talk to you! Email us (email@example.com) to find out how we could work together. If you’ve found this post at all useful, don’t forget to share it!
We Are Mobile First is a digital product agency based in Barcelona. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Medium to be notified of our future posts and company updates. We share weekly posts on everything from 6 things to consider when picking an app developer to our company values.
(Hero image credit: Rohit Tandon via Unsplash)