Historically, a mobile-first strategy would have been centred purely around the design and development of a digital experience. Since the phrase was first coined back in 2011, the evolution of the term has come to represent so much more. Yes, you might still be haunted by the initial connotations of UI/UX and amending your current digital products to be suitable for mobile, but in order for you to create a truly outstanding and sustainable digital experience, you need to reframe your approach.

Having worked alongside businesses from across numerous industries, over the last ten years we’ve found that often, CIO/CTOs consider ‘mobile’ as either an additional channel that works alongside their main product, or a quick trend to jump on to engage a growing audience. Without a clear strategy and the right foundations, any money or time invested into a mobile-first experience will be irrelevant. The right mobile-first strategy will ensure you have not just the right foundations for your suite of products, but a clear and effective long-term plan to actively manage your digital portfolio.

Mobile is no longer a trend

Mobile-first design in principle is the practice of designing or developing a digital experience that is aimed at mobile devices first, rather than desktop. Not to be confused with mobile-responsive design, a mobile-first approach considers all aspects of a user experience with mobile technology, rather than simply scaling down a desktop prototype.

According to Statista, there are 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2021. Approximately 80% of the global population has access to a smart mobile device. Organisations of all sizes are increasingly auditing legacy software, updating processes and systems, all to prepare for what we know will be a digital future. Whatever digital transformation strategy you have in mind, if that strategy does not start with a mobile-first approach there is no doubt that you will need to reassess your focus in the next 1-2 years, if not sooner.

Define your goals

You’ve done the research, discovered there is an opportunity and the budget is in place. In the past, the easiest route was quite simply to begin designing a website suitable for mobile devices and to progress the project from there.

Together with your project team and key stakeholders it is important to clearly define, refine and clarify your objectives. Focus on your roadmap goals and the users you are targeting instead of heading straight for a website or app. Don’t limit your final product, taking the time to develop an idea from theorisation to actualisation alongside an experienced team will save you time and money in the future.

After discovery, the concepts and requirements that have been defined can be translated into a customer-centric solution. Depending on the outcome, there may be one or multiple suitable technologies and it is crucial to be as efficient and cost effective as possible in these early stages, to ensure the best possible return on your investment.

Plan for the future

Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Once you have outlined your mobile-first objectives and plan, prioritise your initiatives based on their value and impact.

A key difference with a mobile-first solution, in order for it to be successful you need to plan for the future. Once the initial digital product is complete, there needs to be a clear plan on how to maintain the solution. Your focus will need to shift to building habits, encouraging users to return to your product and in turn ensuring your product is up to date with upgrades, changes and functionality doesn’t begin to decline.

Embrace the inevitable

Digital transformation is happening across industries in businesses of all sizes, accelerated by the shift to online activity. At Indiespring, we’ve spent the last ten years working on developing mobile-first solutions for organisations across the world. And with mobile adoption rising faster than ever, it’s never been more important to reassess your digital services and prepare them for a mobile-first future.


Looking to create a mobile-first strategy and not sure where to start? Have you already got a project underway and you want to ensure you’ve built a sustainable mobile-first ecosystem? Speak to our experts – +44 (0) 161 660 6756