As we continue to gravitate towards a mobile focused culture, web site design companies are more encouraged to focus on creating a mobile-friendly experience for their site users. Many people still wonder why you need a responsive website and why mobile first responsive design is such a growing trend but there are several reasons to leverage it in web design.
Web and mobile development have certainly evolved over the past few years and incorporating adaptive web design is becoming the norm when accounting for the masses of site users who are visiting via their smart phones and tablets. When beginning a new website design that is going to be responsive, there are really two approaches you can take - the Mobile First/Progressive Enhancement approach or the Graceful Degradation approach. There are pros and cons to either approach but let's talk about why you should consider starting with mobile and working your way up to larger screen sizes.
Why Use the Mobile First Design Approach?
Mobile web browsing is huge and it's still rapidly growing. Not only are there over 1.2 billion mobile device users worldwide, but 25% of mobile web users in the US browse exclusively on their mobile devices. With this taken into consideration, appealing to mobile visitors simply cannot be an afterthought like it used to be. When taking a mobile first design approach to your site design, you can:
- Ensure that the mobile version of your site is optimized from the very start so you can simply enhance it from there to be even more impressive on larger devices.
- Not having to worry about removing elements from your design further down the line of the design process in order to accommodate for smaller areas.
- Keep code and functionality to a minimum when accounting for mobile at the beginning which can ultimately make your site faster when it is developed.
With this being said, taking a mobile-first approach to site design is generally good practice if you want to ensure that your site is going to be effective to users across all web devices. However, all designers are different and this process may not be best for everyone.
Is Mobile First Design Always the Way to Go?
Not necessarily. While taking a mobile first approach to your website design generally works best for producing a site that plays nicely across all devices and provides a better experience for all of your site visitors, there are also some challenges that come along with this approach.
The mobile first approach may not be the best choice if there is a limited budget or a pre-existing site design. Taking a site that is already designed and going back to the drawing board to begin with an entirely new process can be costly and take a long time.
While starting with a mobile layout and working up to tablet and desktop screens is becoming the more effective approach to designing a great all-around site, this process isn't always the best choice for everyone. When is comes to designing a responsive website, you should definitely consider your budget and your goals.
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