The phrase “mobile first” helped many developers succeed as apps overtook Facebook and web products in user acceptance. The concept, however, no longer has significant meaning as virtually every company is focused on the mobile consumer. What was a key part of every successful tech and game company’s strategy for the last four or five years, focus on mobile before web, is no longer a key to success. A recent blog post on Inside Telecom, “Why ‘Mobile First’ May Already Be Outdated,” shows that successful mobile app developers are now creating web apps for larger screens.
It is about the screen
The post makes a great point that mobile is not about the actual device (after all, why is an iPad mobile and laptop not, since you can take both with you and cannot make calls on either) but about the way people access and consume information.
Last year, everyone was optimizing for phones and tablets, now the target is the iPhone 6 Plus and other phablets. Will next year be the year of tiny screens on your wrist. The article points out that “the optimal screen size is still a moving target.”
When considering product development, the only screen size you are certain of is the big one. Most people sit in front of a large monitor for a major part of their workday and then have a large television at home and that probably will never change.
Is mobile only the niche?
Given that people spend a good part of their day in front of monitors and televisions, creating products only for mobile devices only gives users access during a limited part of their day. Even if mobile screens are the dominant platform, it is impossible to argue they are the only screen consumers’ use. Thus, if you want users to access (and consume) your product or game as frequently as possible, you need to be available on all screen sizes.
Focus on actions
If you are not focusing on mobile, you should focus on what your users are trying to do and help them accomplish it. Give them the product to satisfy their needs where they happen, it could be a game, it could be business software, but focus on the customer.
It is all about the user
The bottom line is that rather than thinking mobile first or desktop first, you need to think customer first. If you create a product that is focused on the customer and where they would prefer to consume or play it, you will by definition be meeting the market need.
- While a mobile-first focus helped many developers succeed in the last few years, it no longer has much value as most development is focused on mobile devices.
- What you need to focus on instead is the screen where your users are and do not forget monitors (where they spend most of their workday) and televisions.
- If you create a product that is focused on the customer and where they would prefer to consume or play it, you will be meeting the market need.