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What Is Mobile-First Design: Is It The Best Web Designing Strategy?

  • May 11, 2021
  • by Emma Parkar
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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes, 44 seconds

Nearly 51% of the global population use the internet only from their mobile phones. And this number is expected to reach 72.5% by the end of 2025. This is the reason why the Mobile First approach has become a need for every digital product — websites, applications and software!

What Is The Hype Behind Mobile-First Design?

The reason why every web designing company and every digital product developer is adopting the Mobile First approach is the increasing number of mobile users in the world. In simple words, a big majority of internet users use their smartphones to find and access the content they need. This also means, if your website, software or any other digital product is not mobile-friendly, you, your business as well as your customers are in trouble. In this article, we will discuss every little and big thing about Mobile-first including the scope and importance of UI/UX. Let’s begin!

What Is The Mobile-First Design Approach?

The Mobile-first design principle is exactly the same it sounds: designing for the mobile screen first and working your way up towards the bigger screens. Today, looking at the increasing number of mobile users, it has become the best strategy to build a responsive and adaptive website.

Many expert web designers call the mobile-first approach a principle of progressive enhancement. This ideology says that mobile design, being the hardest, should be developed first. Once an efficient mobile design is done, designing for other devices including the bigger screens will become a breeze. Turns out that the smallest designs have the most essential features, so if you’ve designed for the smartphone first, you’ve successfully built the heart of your UX.

The opposite of progressive enhancement is graceful degradation. This approach involves handling the complexities of bigger screens first and then moving to the smaller devices at the very end. The main problem with the design principle is, when you create an all-inclusive design first, the core as well as supplementary elements get merged and become too complicated to distinguish. The biggest drawback of this designing approach is, you cut down a major chunk of your user experience.

For this reason, we, along with other web designers, strongly recommend the mobile-first or the progressive enhancement method for designing a website or software or anything else.

Mobile-First UX – The Concept

The mobile-first designing principle revolves more or less around one thing – CONTENT!

If your website is working great on a smartphone, it will translate even better to all the bigger devices. But what’s more important is, the mobile-first approach also translates to the content-first approach.

As you may already know, mobile has numerous limitations including screen size and lesser bandwidth. So, when you design according to these limitations, you’re bound to give more attention to your content.

The mobile-first technique leads you to a design that is more focused on the content and hence, more user-focused. Content is like the heart and soul of a website – that’s what users always look for.

Benefits of Using a Mobile-first Approach

1. Most Focused on Core Content

We all have heard that content is the king, it is the main traffic-driving force to your site. Thus, the content that is displayed on the screen of a user needs to be fresh, clear, concise and most importantly easy to understand.

When done in the right way, the mobile-first design positively impacts the desktop and other large-screen versions of your website, resulting in a sleek and polished look. And because the space is very less on the mobile screens, the users should readily get the content they’re searching for.

Generally, on the desktop versions, there are a lot of features and elements which are not accessible from mobile phones. This problem gets resolved by using the mobile-first design. It is more focused on the needs and requirements of the user.

2. Smooth And Swift Navigation

Another advantage of mobile-based designs is that they are super easy and convenient to navigate. This is because there are a few essential elements on the menu. Hence, the user has a better chance to get to the desired destination. One good example is the hamburger menu available in smartphones. It serves as a one-stop destination for user queries.

3. Increased Reach and Higher Visibility

The ease of use and simplicity of accessing the web from smartphones are the main reasons why users prefer using their phones more than desktops and tablets. When the users find your site easy to use and convenient on their mobile phone, they are more likely to visit your site again and again.

One caveat here, if you don’t pay attention to the mobile-friendliness of your website, your visibility and reach can diminish in a way you can’t imagine – in the eyes of users as well as the search engines!

4. Cost-Effective

In this modern mobile era, having a website designed using mobile-first technique is not an option, it is a necessity instead!

A user-friendly outlook and the optimised experience offered by this design principle will enhance your visibility and present you with the opportunity to connect with new people and ensure higher growth. These factors directly contribute to your profits and revenue generation. While high-quality resources are required for the development, the mobile-first approach is highly cost-effective and profitable in the longer run.

Mobile-First Design – Case Studies

Now that we have discussed the benefits of using the mobile-first approach of designing, let’s see how the leading platforms have made the most by implementing this design principle. Below are some case studies for your reference!

1. YouTube

The blank for text displays and buttons is to make users habitual of browsing on small screens. The latest night mode is also heavily focused on mobile devices. It is not just an attractive feature but also increases the user experience significantly.

2. Apple

If you want to see how beautiful and optimised a mobile website can look, then visit Apple’s official website. The beautiful layout and apt content placement is a great example of a mobile-first approach. Here, users don’t really need any button or menu to navigate, they can simply scroll down to access all the information they are looking for – super easy and convenient!

The hamburger menu on the top and the navigation menu on the bottom makes the most attractive design features of the website.

To summarise the Mobile-first design approach in simple words, it is a one-size-fits-all principle that is highly optimised to fit all the devices. This means, you don’t have to design different sites for your mobile and desktop users, one site will work efficiently on all the platforms.

If you’ve made your mind for adapting and implementing this powerful designing approach, we have some tips for you. Keep scrolling and thank us later.

Useful Tips For Implementing Mobile-first Strategy

1. Keep Navigation Easy and Simple

When implementing the mobile-first approach, think like a smartphone user. You’ve to understand that mobile users want navigation to be quick and hassle-free. As we have already discussed, the majority of mobile web users prefer hamburger menus over anything. For those who don’t know, a “hamburger” menu is characterised by two or three horizontal lines stacked on each other. Besides, side navigation, bottom navigation and interaction navigation also work great for mobile sites.

If you’re confused about what kind of navigation feature to include, understand your audience. For example: if your target audience is older, they might prefer simple scroll down and interactive navigation features. Here, a good idea is to run A/B testing on the selected methods to check which one is more liked and clicked by the users.

2. Keep Clean and Fresh Content

As touched on above, a “clean” and “to the point” layout is among the hottest trends in the world of mobile designs. When talking about a clean layout, we mean you should emphasise more on the most essential features of your website. For example: a form to capture leads and boost conversions. Also, make sure to create a streamlined and swift browsing experience that aids better user experience.

Besides, don’t create unnecessary clutter on the site. For instance, if you’re adding a form, make sure it is simple, short and concise with no extra fields and complicated dropdowns.

3. Optimise for Mobile Connection

According to the statements made by Google, the average time taken by a mobile landing page to load fully is 22 seconds. But still, if a mobile site takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of users leave the site – you can see where competition is going!

There are two ways to tackle the slow page load speeds: use the mobile-first approach to reduce the page size and reduce the size and total number of images on your web pages. Instead of the latter one, use stylish larger typography that attracts the visitors and keep them engaged on the page.

4. Include Videos

High-quality images and graphics are things of the past, video and GIFs make the future of today’s mobile design world. According to the video marketing stats in the UK, 93% of marketers have gained new customers by means of video marketing. And this number is not going to come down for sure. Experts believe that including videos on websites not only captures the attention of users, it also offers them the desired content in a better way. Most users prefer watching video over reading a lengthy post. So, whether you’ve an eCommerce website or a news portal, include high-quality, relevant, creative but short videos.

5. Think About Integrated Experience Across Multiple Platforms

We have already talked about creating a streamlined browsing experience across all the devices, but the thing to note here is, users expect the same experience across different platforms. For example, if they login in to your website to take a look at your “Resources” page, they should get the same user experience as they would get while browsing through the desktop.

Although some features can vary from one platform to another, a similar look and layout should be provided to give a better feel for visitors. It helps in maintaining the consistency of your brand.


We have just discussed what the mobile-first design is, its concepts, the benefits as well as the tips to implement this principle while designing your website. If you’re still confused as to whether or not to adopt this design approach, ask yourself these three questions :

1. Can I afford to lose my search engine ranking and customer drop-offs?

2. Can I afford to decrease my conversions and increase site abandonment rate by offering a poor user experience?

3. How long can I manage without having a mobile-friendly site?

If you’ve got the point and understood the importance of adopting the mobile-first design approach, then you’re welcome at RVS Media. As the leading web designing company in the UK, we can help you build an attractive, elegant and highly user-friendly site using a mobile-first approach. Our web designers and developers are helping thousands of website owners to rank higher on search engines and increase their reach and visibility. If you need any kind of assistance, contact us TODAY!