Definition

mobile first

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: A guide to modern mobile application development strategies
Contributor(s): Colin Steele

Mobile first is a business strategy and that assumes smartphones, tablets and task-specific apps are employees' primary tools for getting work done.

The traditional approach to business process assumes employees do most of their work at their desks, using PCs and large, powerful software suites. Often, mobile workers are accommodated by loading full versions of PC software onto smartphones and tablets, either through mobile desktop virtualization or porting applications to mobile operating systems. These strategies may not be effective, however, because mobile apps are usually more narrow in focus than their PC counterparts and desktop software programs are not designed for touch screen interfaces.

A mobile first strategy aims to address these problems. The approach accommodates desktop computing but does so in a way that fits the more task-specific, flexible work styles of the mobile era. For example, a desktop application that manages a company's entire supply chain might be redesigned as several smaller apps, tailored to different groups of users.

This was last updated in July 2014

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