Did you know that around 92% of all Internet users access it through mobile devices compared to around 66% that use desktop computers? That 26% gap represents a massive chunk of people who only ever use their smartphones and it’s a trend that many companies are latching onto.
The last few years have seen a significant push towards the idea of ‘mobile-first development’ where the onus is put on the smartphone and mobile device experience. What are the main advantages though?
Mobile-First Success Stories
One of the earliest and most wholesale adopters of mobile-first has to be the online gaming industry. You would be hard-pressed these days to find a single online slot or casino game that isn’t primarily a mobile experience. The key advantage is that the switch from mobile to desktop is seamless. As an example, customers could play Sugar Rush at Paddy Power Bingo on their smartphone while on the move, then get home and continue playing the game on a PC browser with virtually no difference in layout or design.
Going one step further, there are cases of ‘mobile-only’ such as with financial companies like Revolut. All of their services are offered on mobile with their main website only directing potential customers to Google Play or the App Store. For these companies, plus those that operate in trendy areas such as cryptocurrency or blockchain, the exclusivity helps their brand image as fashionable and young companies.
A Change In Philosophy
The old idea for web and app development was from a ‘desktop-first’ perspective, which usually meant that the mobile experience was just a tiny version of the desktop software with awkward and tricky controls. If you look at the older versions of the Amazon site, for example, you’ll see that mobile-friendly options only slowly started to creep in less than a decade ago.
Thanks to the inherently restrictive screen size and limited controls, many websites were near-unusable on mobile devices while most developers didn’t even attempt converting their desktop software to a mobile version. The mobile-first approach essentially flips that on its head by working within mobile limitations from the start, so that when the site or app is sent to the desktop, both platforms are completely capable of working with it.
If you’re looking at starting or expanding development in the future, mobile should make up a hefty percentage of your focus. Coders and programmers who are just starting out in the industry are increasingly being encouraged to dedicate themselves to mobile languages as much if not more than the desktop ones.
The key term here is future-proofing. There will always be some need for traditional desktop development but the winds are blowing in the mobile direction. We’re already seeing touch controls on full-size monitors and products like Microsoft’s ill-fated Windows 8 and Adobe’s Creative Cloud have already experimented with making full software suites with a mobile feel to match.
Mobile-first is becoming a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ so there’s never been a better time to start on it.
It has been a long time since I joined Research Snipers. Though I have been working as a part-time tech-news writer, it feels good to be part of the team. Besides that, I am building a finance-based blog, working as a freelance content writer/blogger, and a video editor.