What Is Mobile-First Web Design and Is It Right For You?

What Is Mobile-First Web Design and Is It Right For You?

It seems that mobile-first design is a common byword these days, when it comes to the proper procedure for building your website. Yet, what does this term really mean and how can you go about implementing this strategy? Coined to encapsulate the idea that you should begin your design process with the smallest mobile device in mind at the very beginning, you’ll start by creating the smallest core of features for the end user. Once this foundation is laid, you can then begin adding features as you move up in screen size, processing power and internet speed.

You may wonder if this is the only available option, and if this approach is right for your design project. If you decide that mobile-first is the appropriate strategy for your situation, but you’re not tech savvy – you may be at a lost as to how to implement it. To help you learn more about this important topic, let’s look at these questions in more detail below.

Comparing Other Methods.

While mobile-first web design is very popular today, it is not the only method which you can employ. Graceful degradation is the opposite approach, where you build out the full-featured design first – and then shave off components until it’s compatible with a small mobile device. Proponents of mobile-first design say that this backwards journey creates a mobile experience which isn’t as seamless – because it wasn’t created from the ground up with a smartphone user in mind.

While in the past a less-than-optimal mobile experience was permissible (or even expected), you can no longer afford to maintain this outdated attitude. Why? Just a few years ago, for the first time in history, the majority of web browsing shifted over to mobile devices. This means that your site simply must cater to these devices as fully as possible. Mobile-first design is the right method for achieving this outcome, by putting your focus on these devices and creating a specific design just for them.

Implementing This Method.

Now that you’ve seen the advantages of the mobile-first approach, you may be wondering how to practically implement it. The idea is for you to lay out the basic version of your design first, deciding which components will work well for mobile use.

Once you have this in mind, it’s time to begin the build itself. Fortunately, using the right website builder, you’ll be able to create a responsive design that automatically detects and adjusts for different screen sizes. The elements that you decide to include for mobile devices can (and should) change, which is what mobile-first design is all about. However, ensuring that these elements display correctly depending upon the specific device, screen size and resolution being used – this is the role of responsive design.

Using the latest website building programs, responsive design is incorporated right into the platform – so you don’t have to adjust your approach. The easiest website builder will allow you to simply drag-and-drop elements on the page, and it will create a responsive final product for you automatically.

This means that your site will display correctly on virtually any device, from smartphone to desktop computer. This is extremely beneficial, as what works well on a mobile display may function poorly on a full-size computer screen. Taking advantage of responsive design will allow you to sidestep this potential issue – so every visitor to your pages receives a consistent experience.

When combined, mobile-first and responsive design can provide a powerful synergy that will ultimately benefit your site visitors. Users who visit your pages from their mobile device, will enjoy a carefully crafted experience which has their smaller screen and slower bandwidth in mind. Yet, visitors who navigate to your site from their desktop computer won’t feel deprived, as your site will automatically adjust to display correctly for them as well. This approach is clearly a win for all concerned – making it the best strategy for you to employ.


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