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Tony Venables

06 April 2023

Mobile First Website Design - why it matters

Mobile devices have revolutionised the way we access the internet, and as more people rely on smartphones and tablets to browse the web, it's becoming increasingly important for designers to adopt a mobile-first approach.


In this article, we'll discuss why mobile-first design matters and provide tips on how to implement it effectively.


What is Mobile-First Design?


Mobile-first design is an approach that prioritises the design of a website or application for mobile devices first, and then adapts it to larger screens, such as desktops and laptops. This means that the design and user experience are optimised for smaller screens and slower connections, which can help improve usability and engagement on all devices.


Why is Mobile-First Design Important?


Mobile devices have surpassed desktops as the primary device for internet access, and this trend is only expected to continue. As such, it's crucial for designers to create web experiences that work seamlessly on mobile devices. Mobile-first design offers several benefits:


  • Improved User Experience

    Designing for mobile-first forces designers to focus on the most important elements of a website or application and streamline the user experience. This approach often results in cleaner, simpler designs that are easier to use and navigate.


  • Faster Load Page Loading Times

    Mobile-first design requires designers to prioritise page loading speeds and overall website performance, which will improve the overall browsing experience for your website visitors.


  • Better SEO and Page Ranking

    Search engines favor websites that load quickly and provide a good user experience on all devices. By adopting a mobile-first approach, designers can improve the SEO of their websites and increase their visibility in search results.


  • Future-Proofing

    By designing for mobile-first, designers are better prepared for the future, as new devices and screen sizes are introduced. This approach ensures that the website or application will be flexible and adaptable to changes in technology and visitor behaviour.


How to Implement Mobile-First Design


Implementing mobile-first design requires a different mindset and approach than traditional desktop-first design. Here are some tips to help you get started:


  • Start with Content

    Begin by identifying the most important content and features of the website or application. This will help you prioritise what to display on smaller screens and streamline the user experience.


  • Design for Smaller Screens First

    Begin the design process by creating wireframes and prototypes for mobile devices. This will help you focus on the most critical elements of the design and ensure that they work well on small screens.


  • Embrace Constraints

    Mobile devices have limited screen space, processing power, and bandwidth, which means designers must embrace these constraints and design accordingly. This can lead to more innovative and efficient content solutions.


  • Use Responsive Design

    Once the mobile design is finalised, designers can use responsive design techniques to adapt the design to larger screens. This includes using flexible grids, breakpoints, and other techniques to optimise the layout and user experience for each screen size.
  • Choose a Suitable Website Building Platform

    Typically, website builders require users to first design for desktop screens and then automatically adjust the layout for mobile and tablet screens. Although this approach may appear fast and easy, it goes against the principles of mobile-first design. To implement a mobile-first approach, a website builder that facilitates designing for mobile screens first is crucial. Afterwards, the layout can be adjusted for larger screens, by redesigning the page layout and adding more content that is only displayed on laptop or desktop devices, which usually have faster internet connections than mobile devices.

    Using a website building platform like WebWave offers the necessary creative freedom to design websites using a mobile-first approach. This fully hosted web design solution let's you display different content for desktop, tablet and mobile break points which is particularly useful in improving page loading times for mobile devices that usually have slower internet connection speeds.

    For example, you can remove large image files and videos that are not necessary on mobile devices, but still display them on the desktop version of your site where visual experience is more important and page loading speed is less critical.


By prioritising the design and user experience for mobile devices, designers can improve the usability, speed, and SEO of their websites and applications. Implementing a mobile-first approach requires a different mindset, but it can lead to more innovative and creative solutions that better serve users on all devices.



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