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Mobile-first design. Why you should do it now

Mobile-first design. Why you should do it now
Reading Time: 6 min.

Mobile-first represents the version of a platform intended for smartphone devices. This version is simplified because the screen that the user views is smaller.

This version cannot contain all the elements that would normally be found on the desktop version. When building the web design, it starts with the mobile version first, then expands the functionalities and graphics for the tablet and the desktop version.

Below you will discover why the mobile-first version is so important and what are the trends regarding the development of mobile platforms.

What is mobile-first?

Mobile first, also called progressive development or progressive advancement, represents one of the ways of building such a design. The web designer creates the design for mobile phones.

It will use the necessary functions and images, the result being one suitable for a smartphone.

Starting with this base, interactions, more complicated effects, animations, etc. are added to provide a pleasant experience to the user who accesses the platform from a tablet or desktop.

Mobile first represents one of the rules used for progressive development.

Mobile-first design. Why you should do it now wpantonio.com
Mobile-first design. Why you should do it now wpantonio.com

Why is the mobile-first version important for your business?

In 2010, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google encouraged designers to use the mobile-first rule when designing a design.

He predicted the increase in the use of mobile devices.

Thus, in 2016, mobile phone users exceeded the number of those who access desktop platforms. Even from this moment, their number is continuously increasing.

Statistics show that users spend more and more time on the phone, looking for information, accessing social media networks, or making orders. Users want convenience, quick response to their searches or to easily discover the information they are looking for.

Most of the potential customers use the mobile phone. This is one of the most important reasons why it is necessary to correctly and efficiently implement a version of the website adapted for smartphone devices.

For users to have a unique, pleasant experience on the site, when they access it from a mobile phone, it is ideal to take several aspects into account.

The content needs to be narrower, compared to the desktop version. Take into account the times of the day when visitors use their mobile phones (between meetings, in the subway, even when they meet friends at the terrace or restaurant, etc.).

The sessions to access a mobile device are short, so the information is recommended to appear in a concentrated form.

Not many users are willing to scroll repeatedly to read all the information you provide.

To capture the user’s attention, we recommend developing a unique content strategy. 

This will differentiate you from the competition.

When developing the mobile version, it is good to consider the behavior of the users, and the content and to maintain the clarity of the information.

When you prepare the mobile-first indexing, make sure that the information found on the mobile version is the same as that available for the desktop.

Fast page loading is also very important.

Make sure that it is optimized correctly, and that the pages load in less than 3 seconds. Studies show that a user leaves a website when it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

The user experience must be pleasant, and he must find all the necessary information in a very short time. Good interaction with the site will make the user return to your platform or online store.

For the mobile version, it is recommended that the navigation experience be simple. However, things change when we discuss the desktop version where we encourage you to implement more ways of interacting with visitors. 

Also, to be sure that you provide the best functionalities, constantly test and improve the elements or functions of the site.

Responsive versus mobile-first design


Responsive design is the first step for adapting your presentation site or online store for a mobile phone screen.

Your Web Developer will thus scale the site, simplify and adapt it for a smaller screen.

Unlike the responsive design, which focuses first on the desktop and only then on the rest of the devices, the mobile-first design puts the mobile phone in the foreground.

Only after its completion will more complex functions be added, which will appear only on devices with a larger screen, such as tablets and desktops.

The benefits of implementing a mobile-first strategy

Implementing a mobile-first strategy comes with many benefits. First of all, you have to look at the big picture.

Statistics show that 66% of the global population uses a mobile phone.c

We recommend you create a connection as deep as possible with the users. Many tools can be used to interact with users: social media channels, a chat implemented directly on the website, etc.

Other researchers say that over 51% of users check the applications installed on their mobile phone, even 10 times a day, while 25% of users check the applications between 11 and up to 20 times. In this case, it is recommended to develop an application to lay the foundations for a better connection with users.

Best practices for developing a mobile-first strategy:

  • Consider the dimensions of the targeted screens. When using a mobile phone, a user has less room to maneuver, unlike a desktop or touchpad.
  • Allow users to send you feedback.
  • To increase the retention rate and to be sure that visitors are satisfied with your services, implement an easy way for them to express their opinion.
  • Optimize the site according to the results and the statistics you have available. Use tools such as Google Search Console, and Google Analytics that provide you with relevant data about the website or online store you manage.
  • Repeatedly test the functionality of the site before publishing it.
  • Make sure that it looks flawless, all the buttons are functional, and there are no problems with the loading speed.
  • Create a simple but effective design. Complex, crowded elements can create confusion, and the user will have difficulties navigating the site from a mobile phone.
The Essence of Mobile Usability
The Essence of Mobile Usability wpantonio.com
The Essence of Mobile Usability wpantonio.com

Usability is a quality attribute in UX made up of many components. There are many, but let’s dive into five crucial ones:

● Learnability: How easy is it for people to accomplish basic tasks the first time?

● Efficiency: How quickly can people perform tasks?

● Memorability: When people return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?

● Error Recovery: How many errors do users make, how severe are they, and how easily can people recover from them?

● Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design? Does it help people accomplish their tasks? Was it a satisfying interaction?

Mobile Interaction Design Principles

There’s a fine line between an interaction that works and one that is unusable. Because usability is crucial on mobile, well-executed interaction design plays a considerable role in implementing great mobile UX. Observing interaction design principles takes on added importance as screens are small, and various form factors come into play.

Whether in digital product design or industrial design, design conventions are rooted in human behavior, ergonomics, and psychology. 

They follow best practices and expectations of how things work. These conventions have evolved by trial and error over a long time and are proven to be effective.

It’s foolhardy and somewhat arrogant to ignore design conventions. Without them, we risk annoying people. Imagine if every bicycle, every door handle — or the pedals and the steering wheel in every car — worked differently, all purely in the name of “innovation.” 

Designers need to consider expectations to reduce friction.

More about this in another article…


The mobile-first principle has a very important role in developing the design of a website. It helps in the much faster and more organized development of the design.

Thus, the website interface is much more practical.

If until this moment the design for online platforms was first developed for the desktop, the trends and needs of the industry are changing.

Since more than half of the buyers use the Internet, perform searches, and spend a good chunk of time online, using a smartphone, soon it will be necessary to create a web design for mobile devices first.