“Mobile First” does not necessarily mean “Mobile Only”

In a recent article on Business Insider, their editor, Henry Blodget argues that the emerging trend towards a “mobile first” approach to designing applications is wrong, and argues that “mobile first” is based on two incorrect assumptions (“myths”):

1)      The future will be mobile ONLY

2)      All companies should design for mobile FIRST, treating the desktop Internet as, at best, an afterthought

While he is correct that neither of the above assumptions are representative of the real world, particularly as it relates to the role of the knowledge worker, the fact that these are false does not negate the assertion that companies should still be building with a “mobile first” mindset.

Designing for “mobile first” involves recognizing that with the rise of mobility, content will be consumed, and transactions will be conducted, across multiple channels.   Even though some of these channels may not be mobile, and in fact, traditional desktop computing may be the primary channel, “mobile first” is really a recognition that solutions should allow users to interact to interact where, when and how they prefer.   Recognizing that you may need to provide for an omni-channel experience, either now, or at some point in the future, and organizing both your use cases and your data interaction layer (middle-ware) to support that potential state can increase flexibility help future proof your solution.

“Mobile first” is an acknowledgement that even if the end point delivery mechanism may not be mobile today, companies should still design their  application architecture in order to adapt to mobile needs, however they may evolve.

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