I wrote a post called Mobile First Web Second a few months ago. In it made this point:
The thing I like about these kinds of apps is they are with you all the time and can be used in moments of downtime. As such they lead to higher levels of engagement. But because they are also web apps and connected to a web scale network, they can offer a lot of value that mobile only apps cannot.
Since writing that post, I keep coming back to this theme again and again. I think it is a critical element for success in today's web startup environment.
We had a dinner party the other night at our home. A friend asked me what the inspiration for the most recent AVC redesign was. I told her that I wanted AVC to feel like a mobile web site. I told her that I love how web pages look on the iPad and I wanted AVC to look great on an iPad.
I was meeting with the team from one of our portfolio companies a few weeks ago and we were talking about a redesign of their new web service. I had told them I thought the initial design was too busy and too complicated to work well in the market. They showed me the iPhone app they were planning to release soon. I said "just do that on the web." And happily they told me they were thinking the same thing.
Using the mobile web as a constraint to think about web design is growing in popularity. I see it in my own efforts and the efforts of our portfolio companies. When users spend more time accessing your service over a mobile device, they are going to get used to that UI/UX. When you ask them to navigate a substantially busier and more complex UI/UX when they log onto the web, you are likely to keep them on the mobile app and off the web app.
I'm starting to think a unifying vision for all apps should start with the mobile app, not the web app. And so it may also be mobile first web second in designing web apps these days.