If your enterprise is considering Responsive Web Design (RWD) or Adaptive Web Design (AWD), it is important to understand that the decision process does not end with RWD and AWD. To successfully design, develop, configure, integrate and implement a flexible web design, the business must also consider the questions related to ‘Content First’ and ‘Mobile First’.’Content First’ and ‘Mobile First’ methodologies are designed to put the emphasis on content prioritization, and to ensure that important information reaches the users, no matter what device they are using. These methodologies are often part of a responsive design strategy, and reflect an approach that allows the enterprise to display important business information to users quickly and with established priorities. If the navigation menu or company message is not clear or if it does not load fast on a smart phone the business may lose clients, customer trust, credibility and revenue. Having a content first strategy will help the enterprise to establish and sustain trust by respecting the user’s time and attention.
When considering RWD and AWD, the enterprise must think about the Content First and Mobile first approaches. It is important to understand that the business may choose to use only Content First, meaning that they will give emphasis only to the particular content that will be displayed on the various devices. Alternatively, the business may choose to use Content First and Mobile First, meaning that they will select the content they want to display on the various devices and exactly how it is going to be displayed on those devices.
To better understand the Content First and Mobile First approach, let’s look at example. Let’s say that your business site includes a directory listing of employees. When viewed on a desktop computer the directory listing has an introductory paragraph, consisting of fifteen lines of content, and followed by a table with columns, including Employee Code, Employee Name, Employee Title, Employee Email, and Employee Telephone.
When the enterprise takes the content and mobile first approach, the directory page will present three lines of the introductory content, which will vary, depending on the device on which the user is displaying the content (in other words, Content First). In addition, this display might employ the Mobile First approach by dropping the table configuration to show the user only the employee name. If the user clicks on that name, they will then see the detail of title, email and phone number, or perhaps they may only see the email address or phone number.
This example illustrates the variations in the display and views for one type of content and/or listing. In every instance, the content first and mobile first approaches must consider the priority and importance of the information being displayed, and the design team must make cogent decisions regarding the amount and type of content the user will see when they launch the application, page or site.
Once the enterprise and its IT team and consultants understand the benefits of the content first and mobile first techniques and the value of responsive web design and adaptive web design, the web and solution design teams can develop a detailed list of requirements. The team can then develop a solution to meet the end user and enterprise requirements and to ensure that prospective customers and mobile users can access a suitable version of the application or site via smart phones, tablets, or desktops.