In this video master class, author and co-founder of Bagcheck, Luke Wroblewski describes the mobile landscape and why we should use a Mobile First approach. I will tell you why you should watch this video and what Mobile First really means.

This video was recorded during a Master Class with Luke Wroblewski and six participants. Luke talks about the topic, shows slides, and the participants asks questions and comment.

The masterclass is structured into three areas which are:

  • Statistics
  • Setting Context
  • Design Conciderations

In the Statistics part, Luke shows a lot of data on mobile web use. The trend is clear: mobile browsing will soon outperform desktop browsing. This part will give you all the facts you need to realize it’s time to start considering the mobile web. It will also provide you with plenty of ammunition for convincing your boss or client that it’s time to get moving.

In the Setting Context part of the class, the capabilities and constraint of the mobile web experience is discussed. It’s all about screen sizes, limited input opportunities and the different contexts that mobile devices are used. For example, we often use smart phones with one hand while on the move which makes it hard to perform precise manipulations of objects on the screen.

In the Design Conciderations part, Luke presents good advice on how to design for mobile applications. He talks about how to organize content and how to design different actions on a touch device. He also talks about things to consider when designing for input and how to design for different devices and different viewports. Lots of practical advice and current best practices.

All in all the class introduces the mobile web area and gives a pretty broad picture of what it is, where it’s heading and what to think about when designing for it.

About Luke Wroblewski

Luke is a very knowledgeable speaker. He’s written two popular web design books, Web Form Design (which I’ve reviewed back in 2008) and Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability. He’s the co-founder of Bagcheck and former Chief Design Architect at Yahoo!.

These last years Luke has been busy talking and writing about the mobile web and he has a new book coming up this fall called Mobile First.

So what is Mobile First?

The approach that Luke is advocating is to think about the mobile web experience first. Because of the inherited restraints of the mobile platform you are forced to focus on the most important stuff and omit the rest. The screen is small, the input limited and the attention of the user is often shorter than on the desktop.

Then, when you move to the desktop experience, you can bring this knowledge and focus with you. It will help you stay focused and not trying to cram content and functionality into every bit of empty space.

The video format

The quality of the video is mostly good. It’s in mp4 format and both the picture and sound are crisp except for sometimes when one of the participants are talking. Then it sometimes sounds like the person is sitting in a jar talking, you can still here what they say though.

Although the quality of the video is pretty good, my biggest concern is with its format. This master class comes in 14 different video files that you can either watch online or download for offline use. Watching them online is pretty straight forward, you have a chronological list of the videos and watch them one after the other. No problems there.

The problem started when I wanted to watch them on my iPad. I downloaded the files, imported them to iTunes and transferred them to the iPad. Now, instead of being ordered chronological they were ordered alphabetically. Because of this I had to manually edit the meta information of the files, something that’s a bit awkward and time consuming. I think this should have been done to the files, before publishing them.

My verdict

My biggest take-aways from this master class is why Mobile First is a sensible approach but also good ideas on how to design navigation for mobile platforms. There were also some very interesting statistics about how huge the mobile web is really becoming.

If you’re designing or developing for the mobile web or thinking about doing it, you really should check this video out. Luke Wroblewski is very knowledgeable and good at explaining his points in a clear an efficient manner. In fact, even if you haven’t considered the mobile web yet, maybe you should watch this video anyway. Chances are it will make you change your mind.

Video information

Designing for Mobile First
Luke Wroblewski
O’Reilly Media (August 2011)
3 hours and 19 minutes

Check out Designing for Mobile First on O’Reilly Media

Note: I wrote this review for O’Reilly’s Blogger Review Program. Their deal is pretty good: You get a free e-book to read and once you post a review you get another. Try it yourself if you’re interested in reviewing books.