If you actually want to work mobile first, follow these tips

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


Use your mobile. And get everyone else to. Design on it, try it, use it, show people on it. If you are talking about mobile products in a meeting, every laptop in the room should be closed. Only mobiles out. 

That’s it: Use your mobile. That’s the thing you should do.

OK, OK, there is a little bit more. And these things we talk about when creating great products. 

Make sure everyone is working to the same goals. Agree on metrics and single source of truth before you start, and keep checking in on these. Make them visual for people. The team at Relevo came up with a whole new metric to measure swipes and clicks: the slick. You don’t have to go this far, but everyone needs to know what you are measuring, how you are measuring it, and why you are measuring it.

Relevo uses "slicks" to measure swipes and clicks.
Relevo uses "slicks" to measure swipes and clicks.

Show don’t tell: whether it’s making screens verticals, building a mobile view into our workflows, or using mobile devices to demonstrate. GerBen van ’t Hek of Mediahuis told us during the recent INMA master class on mobile-first news Web sites that their CMS system now shows journalists what their content looks like on mobile as they are writing it. 

Collaboration is key. Get the right people in the room — but not so many that no decisions are made. Jens Pettersson of NTM told us that their motto is “Fight and unite!” Fight about the product up front and then unite once you have reached agreement. Differing points of views in the discovery and design process make for a better overall product. 

Last but not least, do a few things well, not a lot badly. This was crystalised in Rodney Gibbs’ presentation about The Texas Tribune decision to kill the app to focus on creating an excellent mobile Web site.

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About Jodie Hopperton

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