Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Journey with Mobile First: Plunging Forward (Part II)

If you're reading this blog series, chances are the mobile first concept is new territory for you. It certainly was for me, until several months ago when I accepted my current position as the Webmaster for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

A week later, I was invited to join the county's collaborative team spearheading the redesign of the county website. One of the project's main objectives is to create a responsive website. Yet not a single person on the team had any experience in responsive web design (RWD) or the mobile first concept - including myself.

Staring the unknown in the face, I chose to fearlessly plunge ahead and conquer. Mainly because I want to excel at my job and industry of choice. But there were also two secondary factors in my decision to tackle responsive web design and mobile first now versus later

  • As a Designer, You Acquire an In-Demand Skill-Set

    RWD and mobile first are still relatively new concepts. That means only a small percentage of designers and developers currently possess expertise in those areas. Acquire that expertise yourself, and suddenly your resume includes a skill-set that will be in demand for years to come. (And the sooner you start, the more years of experience you will have under your belt.)

  • As a Business, You Beat Your Competitors to the Punch

    Most businesses and organizations are way behind in RWD and mobile first. That means, right now, there is an incredible opportunity to tap into your market on the mobile scene and put yourself ahead of the game. (Not to mention set the design precedent for your market!)

Once I decided to seize the day, the next order of business was to educate myself. After all, knowledge is power right?

To date, one of the best resources I have found for responsive and mobile first web design is a company called Ektron. Check out the following resources:

  • "Responsive, Adaptive, Progressive" (webinar)

    I can't recommend this webinar enough. It contains an incredible amount of helpful information and is specifically geared towards newbies to the responsive design scene.

    You can also access additional responsive webinars via their full webinar library, under the "Developers & I.T." heading.

    Note: You are required to submit your email address to view the above webinar, but fear not! The Ektron guys are legit and will not clutter or spam your Inbox.

  • "Mobile Revolution" (e-book)

    A short but informative e-book that highlights:

    • Why your company needs to go mobile
    • Whether to build an app or mobile optimize a website
    • How context drives experience and the goals of your site visitors
    • More about creating a mobile strategy

  • Ektron Blog Community

    The Ektron blog offers a wealth of information on responsive web design (among other things). You can also follow Ektron on Twitter at @Ektron.

In addition, I recommend following Luke Wroblewski on Twitter (@LukeW) or via his website. Luke was - and is - a major pioneer of the mobile first revolution and continues to offer a ton of great information. His book, "Mobile First," can also be found on his website.

These are just a few resources to get you started. Next week, we'll zoom in and focus on the mobile first concept itself, dissecting this new way of thinking when it comes to designing a website.

In the meantime, feel free to post questions or share other RWD or mobile first resources that you have found helpful.