Internet traffic continues to shift from desktop to mobile devices, at an even faster speed since the rise of the "Mobile-Only User" in 2013. it is essential for websites to provide a flawless User Experience (UX) on mobile devices. Even Twitter Bootstrap, the most popular HTML/CSS/JS framework for responsive websites, embraces its "mobile first" approach.
"Mobile First" means Prioritisation
The minimum size of 44x44 pixels for buttons on mobile devices implies a harsh set of constraints. It forces your website's design to be concise and relevant at every touch. In order to achieve this, the concept for your website must be set before touching the digital canvas. The hierarchisation of information and call-for-actions being decided in advance, your creative work will be better informed and conceived. The paradox of needing constraints for more creative output is perfectly applied in the Mobile First web design philosophy.
"Mobile First" means Context
Typographic, layout, colour and graphical adjustments are necessary when designing for mobile. On a smaller display, the quantity of options is overuled by the ease of choosing. This requires a clear understanding of 'how' your website will be perceived and used in a mobile context. Graphic design is a desktop activity (even though: iPad Pro + Apple Pencil) even though your work will be consumed on mobile. Resizing your software's window to a thin vertical line does not count: you must export your work on a mobile device and 'fool around' with the real thing. Just like great cooks do: taste as you go along.
"Mobile First" means Being Ready
The "Mobile First" philosophy is not a trend, and responsive design is no longer a "nice-to-have" feature. We will continue to build welcoming, enjoyable and productive digital spaces - and keep an eye on new devices. True, the name "Mobile First" locks away any other type of device (television, watch, etc...). What really matters is the core of its philosophy. "Mobile First" is an iterative and user-centered approach to creative challenges, no matter the shape and size of the screens of The Future. Be ready.
Credits photography: Jordan McQueen