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Is mobile-first strategy giving way to mobile apps?

Should your mobile-first strategy give way to task-specific apps? The answer likely hinges on the desired level of user engagement.

Websites that perform well across multiple devices are the hallmark of a strong mobile-first strategy, but custom-built...

mobile apps can improve productivity by expediting specific activities. How has mobile-first strategy given way to new mobile apps for digital tasks?

There are two aspects to a mobile-first strategy: content presentation and user engagement.

If you are simply concerned about presentation, designing with a mobile-first approach can affect full-screen Web displays as well. As a baseline, large graphics and beefy touch points make it easy to navigate content on smartphones and tablets, and also browse easily on PCs.

Responsive Web design is another alternative. If your Web content management system is responsive and supports dynamic templates, you can create the content once and adapt the presentations to the form factors and navigation links of different device types. For instance, menu selections that appear as tabbed choices on a full-screen display can be rearranged as a list for a smartphone app.

But there is more to mobile first than consistent content presentation. Beyond keeping tabs on the latest weather reports or sharing immediate thoughts on Twitter, consider how mobile apps can engage users and simplify work-related tasks. With smart devices in our pockets and handbags, content in the palms of our hands can expedite user engagement.

A mobile-first strategy can spawn a new generation of apps designed to support the micro-moments, when getting access to just the right information at the right time assists decision making. These are task-oriented apps that connect to multiple information sources and diverse content collections running in the cloud, and that provides the tools to mobilize moments of engagement.

In short, content presentation is only the initial step in the mobile journey. A mobile-first strategy can evolve to support task-oriented mobile apps that transform business processes, remove communication barriers and increase productivity. 

Next Steps

Companies turning to responsive Web design

mBaaS facilitates seamless mobile experiences

Personalized websites can provide an edge

This was last published in July 2015

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Does your WCM strategy include mobile-first strategy or task oriented apps?
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I believe , yes. Pick anything, just anything that you like in market and you will find a mobile app associated with its business sooner or latter. Internet has almost become the 4th basic need of human being after food, shelter and cloths. If you are into business, you are advisable to consider mobile options as means to interact with your users. You never know when a user would want to buys something from you and by giving him an app...you just increase the probability of that purchase happening. 
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I think some of our readers may debate you, not putting the Internet higher on that list : ) Seriously, though-- thanks for reading and sharing your perspectives.
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At this point in time, we focus our development on both the main desktop app and responsive design, but we also put development into mobile apps before trying to shoe-horn an entire web sites functionality into a mobile app or interface. We've determined there is a time and a place for each of these, and it's rare that a site for mobile wins out over a dedicated app, at least in my experiences.
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Excellent observation, Michael. Certainly avoid the 'shoe horn' approach of just porting a desktop experience over to mobile. But also, consider the mobile context; where does mobility actually add value compared to viewing content through a PC web browser.

For starters, focus on "location" -- determined by device-specific factors such as GPS coordinates or network approximations. When does knowing where the person is, or what he/she might be doing, make a difference in the experience? Start with the low hanging fruit, and build a repertoire of customer scenarios, one by one. Yes, it might take time but it will be tremendously fulfilling.
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Michael, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. And thanks again to Geoff Bock, for checking back and interacting with our readers.
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