You should be thinking 'mobile first'

You should be thinking 'mobile first'

If your business hasn't embraced mobile, you should hop off your horse-drawn carriage and get with the times. Mobile is becoming the frontline of branding in the digital realm, and your business should take note.

The Twitter IPO has been making news lately. The company, which has yet to actually turn a profit, entered trading at $26 and reached $45 by the end of the first day. Of course, pundits pointed out the disappointing performance of the Facebook IPO in setting expectations for Twitter.

But Twitter has one thing going for it that Facebook did not - something that your brand might want to think about. Way before it went up for public offer, Twitter went mobile.

Even if you already have a legacy desktop site and a running mobile site, the next revision of your site that you post should be thinking mobile first. Let's look at 3 reasons why you should be thinking mobile first for 2014.

1. Mobile means responsive; responsive goes where the customer goes

We've been talking about responsive design lately. But responsive design has emerged in conjunction with a paradigm shift in the world of web design. And it's taking the lead.

There's a change going on that affects the way you should think about "responsive design." When mobile browsing first got started, it was a residual, a secondary, and existed entirely in the shadow of desktop browsing.

But the completeness and thoroughness of automated formatting afforded to us by responsive web design is giving desktop second consideration, lowering it a notch, not in terms of importance, but in terms of design nods.

Responsiveness works on all formats; it’s the small screens you have to worry about now. The big screens happen naturally.

2. Mobile is stealing the show

If you want to speak to a crowd, you need a platform and a microphone.

Following that metaphor, if you want to reach people in the digital space, mobile is rapidly becoming the defacto starting point. Smart Insights is reporting that the 'Mobile Web' will overtake fixed Internet access during 2014, so it's a great time to make the switch - or at least, to start planning to make the switch.

Some sources say there are already more mobile devices than there are humans - an interesting statistic, because you have to question the value of the metric, when devices don't use themselves. Nevertheless, it's safe to say, they’re out there, and consumers are putting them to use, by and large. And you need to play on their field.

3. Getting more from your content with mobile

The desktop site has always been conducive to "big" stuff - big images, large videos, lengthy articles. But mobile clearly puts some limitations on the physical demands of content.

As a recent article at Forbes reports, though, re-purposing content for mobile is the wave of the future.

According to Forbes' Jayson DeMers, mixing up content length is the solution to the content-length conundrum. A short, edited version of a blog post for mobile that links to a long-form blog article on the desktop for those who want to know more is the way to go. (Just FYI, this is also where video content comes into play, but that's for another article.)

For us, that's a key takeaway. It’s tempting to make content excessively short in the mobile-dominated web, but often customers want more. It needs to be there, as a link, to meet with their expectations.

So rich content lives on even as mobile takes the reigns.

Where will your mobile branding go in 2014?

Mobile is slated to get bigger, going onward and upward for the foreseeable future. As it does, it changes the dynamic of the Web, as it outpaces the traditional desktop approach. This is not bad news, it's good because mobile segues right into responsive design, and that works across the board.

What's your mobile strategy for 2014? Where is your traffic coming from? Where do you expect customers to be coming from over the next year?

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