Moving from Mobile Friendly to Mobile First: Part II

14 Mar 2016
by John Foley
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The following is an excerpt from my book, “Untethered Marketing: The Role of the Cloud and Mobile Communication.” To read the full book, please visit

Missed part I of this excerpt? Please click here to read my previous post!

Responsive web design is the concept of developing a website in a style that allows the layout to change based on the user’s screen resolution. It is a completely different approach from traditional web design. For example, if the user accesses a website from a PC, they might see a four-column design, while the same site accessed from a smartphone might be automatically simplified into two columns or even a single column. User choices can vary from PC to tablet to mobile.

iPhoneThis is a mobile-first approach. From the outset, the design assumes the site will be accessed by some type of mobile device, but also leaves the door open for desktop/laptop access, serving the specific needs of all of these users.

Keep in mind that smartphone users are averse to complex navigation paths. In addition, Flash is still not supported on Apple devices, so web designers should stay away from Flash, giving the preference to HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS. Pages should also load quickly, regardless of the device. Content consumers are an impatient lot – some experts suggest that even a one second delay in a site loading can result in a 7% reduction in conversion.

Mobile content should also be prioritized. Think about what your customers are most likely to do from a smartphone or a tablet, and organize content accordingly. Continuing with the restaurant example, perhaps the first choice the user sees is, “make a reservation,” the second choice might be “view our menu.” Directions to the establishment and any daily specials or offers should also be readily accessible.

Also keep in mind that mobile users, whether tablet or smartphone, are more in tune with touch-and-swipe, while desktop and laptop users are usually point-and-click oriented. Your designs must take these differences into consideration.

The bottom line: mobile first means providing a consistent experience and brand image across all platforms, and understanding that mobile browsing is rapidly overtaking desktop browsing as the way in which consumers choose to interact with your brand, your product, and your company.

I hope you enjoyed this two part mini series on how the role of mobile marketing is continuing to change and affect the way we market our products and services. Please check out the full book by clicking here!

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