Your declaration that the web will be going mobile-first is no longer a bold prediction. It’s 2013 and you’ve had your chance.

I first started hearing the cries of “The Year of Mobile” in 2008. Bro, I’m rockin a LG Chocolate camera phone and we’re at 17% smartphone adoption here in the US. Get fucking real.

Then came 2010, I’m bumpin Pandora on my OG Motorola Droid, and developers are still crying “The Year of Mobile!” while they’re porting desktop sites into shitty, dumbed down, platform-agnostic mobile apps.

Now it’s 2013, I’m rocking an iPhone 4S (yes I finally joined the Apple bandwagon) and smartphone adoption is over 50% in the US and about 30% globally.


The Year of Mobile? We might finally be coming around to it.

I recently signed up for Clarity, a platform/marketplace connecting people with experts and advice founded by marketing/growth stud Dan Martell. Check out the link to Clarity’s homepage. No big deal, right?

But here, take a deeper look into their product. If you clicked that link from your phone or tablet, you’re not surprised. It’s a nice, clean HTML5 mobile version of their smartphone app – Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and tons of other sites are doing the same.

But click that link from a desktop computer? Yep, you’re seeing that same mobile interface greeting you from the screen of your 24″ LED screen.

Clarity Mobile Web Interface

I’ve gotta be honest, this threw me off a bit. It’s not media-rich, it doesn’t make great use of space, and it just doesn’t feel right on such a large screen. But as soon as I started using the product, I realized that it is one of the cleanest, most simple and easy to use desktop web interfaces that I’ve used in awhile.

First off, it’s designed as a traditional mobile app. If you’re not comfortable using that interface, you probably aren’t the type of person Clarity is trying to reach in the first place. Also it’s clear that to drive adoption, Clarity’s primary goal is to get users using the product as quickly as possible. Each extra word and every superfluous pixel they use in their design has the potential to get in the way of using their product. Mobile interfaces are simple, and simple perpetuates usage.


Redefining Your Mobile Strategy

This is the first time I’ve truly seen a company go mobile over desktop in a really meaningful way for a cross-device functioning product. And I like it.

I think it’s safe to say we may finally be in the early days of “The Year of Mobile”, so be prepared for things to be a bit clunky for awhile. But if you’re in the midst of building a business, and you plan on spanning across the mobile, tablet and desktop web (and who isn’t these days!), then Clarity’s truly mobile-first strategy should be something you seriously consider.


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  • evo

    How about “context first”, do what works for the context it finds itself in. If you have 30″ use it correctly, if you have 3″, again use it correctly.

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  • Evan Jacobs

    I’m doubtful that Clarity or that Dan Martell guy tests IE at all before releasing their designs. His personal site is all kinds of screwed up and Clarity has some glitches, too.

    This is tested using IE10, which is more or less equivalent to Firefox. Inexcusable in 2013.

    Also, Highrise’s mobile menu button doesn’t do anything in IE10. *smh*

  • Daniel Wiklund

    I really don’t agree that this is the right way of doing “Mobile-First” it seems more like “Mobile-first-screw-desktop” to me, I agree that the site works on a desktop browser but i won’t say that this is an example of the best desktop interface i have seen… And i think that the experience on the tablet is actually poor (tablet is also a mobile device)

    Then there is the fact that they haven’t optimized the assets to avoid unnecessary requests, e.g. i counted 16 individual png files that could easily be combined to at single sprite.

    And also they just copied a iPhone app layout – not considering the fact that app navigation on android is normally different.

    One good thing about this interface is that it is the same across all devices, so the user will always be able to find what he/she is looking for – since it is always located in the same place – but still!

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