Mobile-First vs. Desktop-First

Over the years, websites have become even more important to the success of a business. Even the most expensive, high reaching newspaper ad could never hope to bring you this number of leads. It makes sense that the internet is quickly becoming one of the most powerful and popular places to advertise your business. However, web design itself is a vicious beast. For business owners, it sounds like a foreign language and is hugely confusing to try and understand during the process of actually buying a website. For a web designer, getting the right design and style is absolutely imperative to completing the job properly.

A question which is regularly being asked these days by web designers is whether the client would like to have the website designed mobile first, or desktop-first. Business owners might not see the importance of this, but this is a MASSIVE part of the design process.

Responsive websites became a huge thing a few years ago and to combat the change in the way people viewed the internet as whole, responsive sites were introduced. Rather than have a dumbed-down mobile site and a complex desktop site that does not work with mobile devices efficiently, designers started to create websites that can automatically edit their width and height, so they show up efficiently on desktop or mobile devices.

But what is the best order to create the websites in? Can there be any problems from doing it the other way around?
Mobile-First

Mobile first design is fairly simple – you start the process by creating the mobile version first. Unlike normal mobile sites, no information or detail is being omitted from the design. It’s much easier for a business to take the mobile site and make sure it translates properly.

The flipside is that only 25% of users are only checking the web via mobile. This number is growing, so keeping the mobile crowd in mind can help your website gain attention while people are out and about. If you have a business that also has physical location, a mobile website is definitely needed.

However, starting with the mobile version means that sometimes you need to omit features you would liked to have had. For example, flash videos can be a big no-no for websites on mobile devices at the moment as lots of devices struggle to load them outside of direct platforms like YouTube. When you start with a mobile-first design, you are more progressive. You will add small increments as you go, which can stop your website from becoming overwhelming to the user.
Desktop First

Desktop first websites have been the standard for many years. A desktop based site will usually have more features and additions than a mobile website. The temptation is there to go crazy and add lots of features to the overall design and finish. Once your desktop site has all its bells and whistles, how do you then turn that into a mobile version?

A site with too much going on will be hard to translate into a mobile site and if the mobile version is dumbed down, it can make it look like an afterthought rather than an equal share. This is quite a common perception of less feature heavy mobile websites. Whereas with a mobile first design, you may find yourself adding more as you go, a desktop first design can have you chasing your own tail, removing things to make the site optimal for both desktop and mobile.
So What Are You Saying?

Aside from our back and forth arguments, it’s certainly easier to come from a mobile-first range. This gives you the chance to build something cool, efficient and minimalist. You can stop information overload or looking too eager very easily with this type of design ideal. It’s definitely easier to build a minimalistic, but cool view and then add more to it as you go than create something with ten layers of information, but no scalable strategy for the future. At Design Web we can build your site with mobile-first design and make it look nice on all devices.