What is Mobile First?


Mobile first is a design philosophy that focuses on the responsive mobile design of a website or app, rather than the desktop or laptop version.

Why Mobile First?

Websites used to be built with the desktop computer in mind. Mobile sites were just an afterthought. Then smartphones improved, most people bought one, connectivity grew, and data plans expanded.

As a result, mobile usage is growing every day and will continue to grow over the next few years. In fact, Google says more searches now take place on smartphones than on desktops, laptops and tablets combined.

Google’s Mobile First Indexing

Because of the increase in mobile use, Google now focuses on “mobile first indexing“. This looks at mobile content to decide how to rank its results, regardless of whether the user is on desktop or mobile. The bottom line is if your website is not mobile-friendly it will impact how you appear for all searches (including desktops/laptops).

This is why all marketers need to think mobile first when it comes to websites and all other digital communications. Websites need to be updated to be responsive with:

  • Simple, intuitive navigation

  • Easily clickable links — by either a finger tap or a mouse click

  • Optimized text readability (not too small, but not too large either)

  • Images need to scale automatically or get dynamically replaced by larger or smaller images and icons, as needed.

When you design for mobile first, there’s a lot less screen space to work with. This means you’ll need to do without many of the cool design elements and extras you’d include if you were designing for a larger screen.

With mobile first design, you need to focus on what’s most important on a mobile screen — functionality. The consensus among designers who’ve worked mobile first is the design process is more practical. When you design for mobile first, you don’t have to decide what desktop design elements to remove.

Most users now demand the kind of quality mobile experience we’ve described. They also expect a similarly smooth experience on desktops. Making this happen demands careful thought and planning, but the end result is a better website, better search rankings and more satisfied users.

If you have questions about making sure your website is optimized for mobile, or feel you need help, just let us know.