Why Mobile-First IT Strategies Fail and How to Fix Them

Over the last decade, more and more companies have shifted to a “mobile-first” approach to their website and—increasingly—to their internal systems. If your company has made or is making this shift, you may be excited about the ease with which you can clock in, complete processes, or find documentation from your mobile device. On the other hand, you may have to deal with a newly confusing and stripped-down desktop experience.

Mobile first concept, Person hand using smart phone with mobile first icon on virtual screen, Digital marketing, office desk.

Is mobile-first really a good user experience (UX) strategy?

Yes, but there are several pitfalls that mobile-first design can fall into. If you are facilitating your company’s switch to mobile-first design, be sure to avoid the following fatal mistakes.

  1. Assuming mobile-first strategies are perfect

Mobile-first design is sometimes presented as “the thing we’ve all been waiting for.” While this design strategy is powerful and effective in today’s day and age, we cannot stop innovating and coming up with new and better design. Mobile-first design originated as a compromise when tight deadlines and budgets constrained designers to prioritize the UX on one device to the detriment of others (mobile phones over desktops and tablets).

  1. Designing for desktop as an afterthought

Because mobile-first design is a compromise, it generally disadvantages desktop users the most. This can be a huge flaw in your UX design. Although many of your users may prefer to use mobile devices, a significant number will be using desktop or laptop computers, especially if their work includes data entry or writing in any form. You must not ignore the needs of these users.

The desktop interface of your website or internal software system is not simply a zoomed-out mobile interface. The design principles for mobile and desktop interfaces are completely different, and it will be well worth your while to create separate user experiences for each device type.

  1. Not prioritizing high-use contexts

If ninety percent of your employees work at their desks for their entire workday, a solely mobile-first internal system simply doesn’t make sense. You should prioritize the needs of your own workplace, no matter what design trends may be popular in the world at large. Doing research on what design choices other similar companies are making can help you compare like to like when making design choices.

  1. Designing only for new users rather than for power users

There is no reason to overlook the people who use your system the most (power users) in favor of new users. Mobile-first interfaces are necessarily stripped down and simplified, with large buttons and few options. But for your power users, over-simplifying an interface will cause just as many problems as over-complicating it would cause for new users. Be sure that any system—especially on desktop—allows your power users to accomplish their routine tasks with ease.

Successful mobile-first design is all about balance. You must balance mobile and desktop, new users and power users, and convenience and flexibility. The best websites and systems will have custom-built interfaces for each device type and will have undergone rigorous user testing. 

Excel at Mobile Information Management with M-Files

Mobile Information Management refers to accessing critical and sensitive information from mobile apps to meet the demand for remote access by businesses. These systems encrypt information, so that only authorized users can see or manipulate the information. M-Files has a device-agnostic design, meaning users can enjoy the same good experience if they use the desktop in the corporate office or a mobile phone in their home office, airport lounge, or an offsite workplace.

M-Files already integrates with common kinds of software and information repositories. At the same time, M-Files offers its own repository that businesses can choose to use for safe, secure, and recoverable storage if they choose. To fully understand how intelligent, remote, and mobile-first information management will benefit your business, contact us with your questions or to experience a demo or free trial.