Mobile-first design in software product development

08 Nov, 2022
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India introduced a novel concept, Unified Payments Interface(UPI), to make payments. I could pay anyone anywhere immediately.

From high-tech malls to vegetable vendors, everyone now asks for UPI payments as it has increased the convenience of handling money.

Ever since, I have stopped carrying cash on me.

It is easier to track payments since all my transactions are available on mobile. My wallet contained my identity cards as well. Now, these are also available on government-backed mobile applications. So, I stopped carrying my ID cards.

Now the only things I carry are my car keys and my mobile.

Mobiles have become an integral part of our lives. Building applications for mobiles is the top priority for any business. However, this has challenges, and a few essential tips must be kept in mind before embarking on a mobile-first design.

What is Mobile-first design?

In the past, webpages were designed for desktops. The same was gracefully degraded to webpages for mobiles.

However, several elements from those pages did not adapt well to the mobile screen. As per Statista* – 58% of users prefer the internet on mobile devices rather than desktops outside their workplaces. (Source:

Hence, the desktop-first strategy was changed to a mobile-first approach, also called progressive advancement, which means designing for mobiles initially and then progressively for desktops.

Several other factors are driving such strategy:

  • Increase in the number of people using smartphones:

    The number of smartphone users has increased tremendously; hence, businesses must build mobile-friendly websites and apps to reach people. Consumer preferences have shifted to portability.

  • Simplicity:

    A mobile-first design forces a developer to put only the most relevant features that can be easily viewed on a mobile screen. This reduces clutter and helps a consumer focus on only the most important characteristics a website offers. The chances of gaining the output increase with simplicity.

  • Search engines’ preference for mobile-compatible websites in their Indexing:

    Search engines now use the loading speed of a mobile page as a critical index for a website’s SEO ranking. This means the ranking of mobile-friendly websites will be higher than that of lesser-friendly ones, and this will have a direct impact on the revenue generated.

  • Ease of Reaching users of diverse categories:

    Mobile phone has become a mini computer. It provides access to various internet-based applications, from infotainment to info-mediation to health and education. It opens a vast channel to reach all types of consumers, and therefore businesses wanting to extend their outreach must be present on mobiles.

While there are immense benefits from a mobile-friendly website, creating the same has its challenges. There are a few essential points to keep in mind for a mobile-first design:

  • Segregate content into primary and secondary categories to identify which ones must be put into the website.
  • Design for one-hand use: The website should be designed for single-hand use, which improves user experience. This means that the touchpoints within the webpage should be reachable for an average thumb length.
  • The website should load fast. Users do not prefer waiting for a page to load, which helps retain the user’s attention for a longer time. As such, pages should load fast with minimum usage of high-resolution images and videos.

What next?

  • Mobiles are used for personal purposes; therefore, most businesses have done well to reach individuals directly through mobile apps. However, I have not yet witnessed any good application of mobile-first strategy by B2B firms. It would be interesting to see how this space pans out.
  • A sizeable chunk of the world’s population still uses feature phones. While most apps are developed for smartphones, it remains a challenge as to how the feature-phone user market can be penetrated for better business.
  • Several wearable manufacturing companies have started building an app ecosystem for smartwatches. For example, Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin have started asking developers to build watch-friendly apps. Furthermore, Apple has already introduced the Apple Watch, which can interact directly with network carriers without an iPhone as a middleman. They may want to move many users to watches with giant screens and better interfaces.

Is it possible that mobile-first would give way to wearables-first?

Organisations are increasingly adopting a mobile-first strategy to reach a more significant number of customers.

Accessing any website on the go brings in much comfort, which translates to more value for the customer and hence better revenues for organisations. As the number of smartphone users increases daily, mobile apps and mobile-first design should be a priority for the growth and profits of businesses.

Organisations that build better user interfaces and create better user experiences on mobiles will move ahead, and those that do not will fall behind and eventually lose business.

coMakeIT understands the trend toward a mobile-first design and has helped many customers build products that have significantly impacted different arenas.

For instance, we have assisted a leading wireless solutions developer build a mobile app that helps protect people, equipment, and properties at the site. It generates notifications to alert users in case of any incident at the site, which prompts them to take immediate actions to minimise the impact of the occurrence.

One of our customers supported thousands of students with different needs through the app we built.

Contact us at info@xebia.comcom to learn more about how xebia can help you implement mobile-first design and apps for your business.


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