By Interactive Strategies
Nov 19, 2012

Put Mobile first

Lately we have been thinking a lot about mobile.

In her recent presentation “Uncle Sam Wants You (To Optimize Your Content for Mobile)”at An Event Apart, Karen McGrane, Founder of Bond Art & Science, enlightened us with statistics that leave no room for doubt – mobile can no longer be a secondary offering. Mobile should be top of mind for all of us who build web experiences.

For example, she mentioned that 20% of all Americans have no Internet access at all, and 35% have no access at home. What do they have? Mobile devices. That is, in 2012 88% of Americans have them, and 55% use them to access the Internet. McGrane calls them the “Mobile Mostly” users. The rise of mobile devices has made getting online more attainable to more people than ever before. Think about it. How do you get online these days? Through an app or browser on your device, most likely. Essentially mobile has not only revolutionized the way we get information, but it has made that information available to more people than ever before – crossing lines of demographics, geography, economic status and more.

That’s why agencies like IS would be making a ghastly gaffe if we did not shift our thinking and put mobile first when approaching a client’s web experience. Gone are the days when all you needed was a great website and one that is "viewable,” or even worse, "doesn't break" on a mobile device.

In fact, we propose that we flip the paradigm on its head. That is, first think about the mobile experience (e.g., what content and features would a user need immediately?) and base the website off of those key elements. Bring those features and content elements to the forefront of the website and then complement them with the extras that make sense on the site itself. Pair that with messaging that extends the brand to social media and you’ve got the potential for a fantastic web experience that drives more conversions than you’d ever imagine.

McGrane recently translated her presentation into an article for A List Apart where she quotes President Obama who said, “Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device.” Granted, taking a cue from our Federal Government is a bit of a hard pill to swallow given its agonizing use of IE6, even to this day (the bane of existence for web developers everywhere). However, Obama’s mandate to the government to develop “a comprehensive Government-wide strategy to build a 21st century digital Government that delivers better digital services to the American people” is right on the money.

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