We all remember when a few years ago, all the resources, creativity and thought of web developers and website designers were concentrated on the desktop website. It made perfect sense then, as desktops and PCs were the main sources of traffic on the websites and smartphones and other devices were not advanced enough. But is the same strategy valid even now when the mobile and tablet users have captured the market and have long overtaken the desktop users?
The Mobile-First approach is much of a process and a strategy that focuses more on smartphones and content rather than the design related elements. In this process, the elements of a website like the content, the layout of the web pages and navigational techniques are made according to a mobile first rather than a desktop. It is argued that going with a mobile first approach is not only simpler but also caters to the largest audience of a website which nowadays reaches a website through a smartphone. The Mobile First strategy is used due to some very important reasons:
As mentioned earlier, a mobile first approach would mean a ‘Content First’ Approach. Some years back, the design of the website, the color schemes and the transitions were all that focussed on Desktop. The reason being that the large screens of a desktop needed something to fill in the gap between the content and add the Wow factor. This decreased their focus on the content and resulted in substandard content in the websites. Content is a broad term which includes all the write-ups, materials, videos and images in the particular website.
Now with the focus on the mobile version of websites, the basic focus has shifted to quality, precise and attractive content. It is imperative to understand that on smaller screens, the site design and other technical aspects are not the attractive forces, rather the information and content attract.
The limitations of mobile like low bandwidth and screen size make the designers naturally and organically focus on the most important aspect of the website, the content. To the extreme end, Graceful Degradation is preferred by many, who believe that all complexities and features should be added right at the start and when incorporating them into smaller devices the complexities can be stripped off. However, a fundamental flaw could be, that it is extremely difficult to distinguish important aspects of a website already created because the features tend to merge. While degrading the website many important aspects might be deleted from the mobile version of the site.