Design for Experience first, not mobile first

There has a big push for every website and app developer to think “mobile first.” This approach made sense when a significant percentage of audience was participating via a desktop computer. That paradigm is fading fast and the ill-conceived “mobile first” design approach has become dysfunctional.

The problem with the “mobile first” design philosophy is that it assumed that someone using your website or app was on a mission to complete a very specific task. Therefore the mobile app or website was developed with very limited functionality. As audiences are converting to mobile only audiences it becomes necessary to provide the full information and functionality they would expect to find in a desktop optimized experience. This means the designer needs to be able to deliver information and functionality in an experience optimized for very small real-estate. 

The key to succeeding in the mobile only environment is to understand, at a granular level, your participants and their experience. This requires a deep dive into the entire participant journey, not just the digital piece of that journey. The entire ecosystem of use should inform how information and functionality is presented as well as when they are presented. The same audience may need access in a different manner depending on where they are on the journey when they choose to drop into the website or application experience.