Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Journey with Mobile First: Biting the Bullet (Part I)

Mobile first web design is all the rage - and rightly so. A recent report from Forrester estimates that there will be one billion smartphones in use by 2016. Once upon a time, the PC was the main device used to access the Internet. Today, it's simply a device - and one that will be soon be in the minority compared to smartphones and tablets.

Yes, the landscape of the Internet is drastically changing - making the mobile first model a must. Yet, while the concept is certainly gaining traction, only a small number of web designers and businesses have embraced it.

Granted, it always takes a while for new ideas to gain momentum. (If only for practical reasons, such as finding the time to learn it!) But as a web designer who, only recently, has delved into the mobile first realm, I also understand the hesitancy. I remember when the concept of designing a mobile website, in addition to a desktop site, crept onto the scene a few years ago. My initial reaction was, well, flat out denial. After years of dealing with browser wars and the fight for browser standards, I (like a lot of designers) was basking in the glow of (finally!) only designing a site once. (Versus designing it the correct way and then implementing a ton of hacks for IE.)

But the explosive use of smartphones and tablets has brought us to a place where we, as designers and developers, can no longer live in denial. The way the Internet is being accessed and utilized is drastically changing. As such, mobile first is not just about new technologies and coding techniques - it's an entire new way of thinking when approaching web design.

Which is why it seems so daunting.

Yet, as a designer who has recently fallen in love with the mobile first concept - and responsive web design in general - I can honestly say that I prefer designing this way for a multitude of reasons. (All of which will be covered later in the series.) Plus, it's actually more fun. (No joke!)

So for those designers who are still sitting on the fence, whether because you're hesitant to dive into the unknown or because you simply need some motivation, this blog series is for you. In the weeks ahead, I'll weave together my story of entering the mobile first world with all the terms, techniques, and information you need to know to get your own ball rolling.

In the meantime, feel free to share your most pressing mobile first or responsive web design questions and concerns below. What topics would you like to see covered?

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