"Mobile First" Book Review


We all know it; the A Book Apart publications are a joy to behold, and read. Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski is no exception. Read on for my thoughts on the book..

Giveaway: Winners Announced

Congratulations to the three winners @kevinvdijssel, @BossersPieter and @stephdrasch who each receive a copy of Mobile First :)

My Thoughts on the Book

I knew from the moment I flipped the first page what this was going to be about. A book describing how to tackle Responsive Web Design from a Mobile First approach; starting small and progressively enhancing for larger devices and screens.

Wrong. In fact, media queries aren't even mentioned until 92% of the way through the book! Mobile First is much more than I'd anticipated, covering an entire philosophy of web design. The premise is this: mobile devices force us to think differently about how we deliver web experiences. They present not only physical constraints in the form of smaller screens, touch enabled interfaces, lower band-width, smaller screens (yes, that's an important one), but also practical constraints. We use mobile devices differently to desktop browsers. Mobile users are likely to be on the move, they're after specific information, and they expect to interact with web pages in a certain way.

Designers are therefore faced with the reality that a mobile interface has to be changed, has to be optimized, has to focus on core issues. But then again, if we're prepared to deliver core experiences to our mobile users, does that mean we're throwing bloated and overly complex experiences at our desktop users?!

Mobile First doesn't so much tackle mobile experience design, as experience design in general. Mobile solutions have given us a different perspective and force us to focus on what's really important.

But hold on there - I'm making out that mobile devices are nothing but thorns in our sides, obliging us to strip everything back to the bare essentials. Wrong. Again. Mobile offers us entirely new aspects to the web - far from simply serving static web pages the internet has become a rich and interactive world of applications and services, and mobile is pushing that forward. Geo location, accelerometers, device orientation and gesture control have paved the way for some pretty novel approaches to user interaction. Mobile has given us plenty to think about.

As with all the A Book Apart publications, this is an easy read. I don't mean dumbed down, I mean it's structured and flows naturally. It's not written with such light-heartedness as other examples in the ABA collection, but it's no worse off for that. Luke really knows his stuff and he shares his knowledge in a relaxed but matter-of-fact fashion.

A predictable conclusion, but you should read this book. It's excellent.

Mobile First is available from A Book Apart
$18.00 + shipping for paperback, or $9.00 for eBook (PDF, ePub and mobi), at time of writing.

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