What’s the Big Deal About Mobile First?

We’re spending more and more time on our phones. According to Deloitte, a third of consumers globally check their phones within minutes of waking up in the morning. 20%  said they check their phones more than 50 times a day. I don’t even want to think about how many times I check mine but I’ll admit it’s enough to make me think mobile first is the way to go.

Roughly four decades after the introduction of the first mobile phone, almost every developed country has at least 90 percent mobile phone penetration. It has become increasingly pervasive and indispensable. These days our devices come with us everywhere, stay in reach almost all the time and do just about everything. They play a central role in our lives so it makes sense put the mobile experience first when developing a website.

The popularity of smartphones has become so clear that mobile internet usage has now surpassed the use of a desktop. This trend continues as smaller devices gain more market share.

So what is Mobile First Design?

Mobile-first is what it sounds like: creating a website with mobile users in mind. They’re sites designed in order of phone first, then tablet, then desktop. It’s all about how you can get your content across in a very simple and clean way. In one way, it may sound limiting. Reducing sliders, crazy buttons and anything extra that’ll slow down our site.  However, the fewer distracting elements mean the experience is more user-friendly and less irritating for users.

Some more history on Mobile First

One major instigator of this trend is Google. In 2016 mobile Internet usage surpassed desktop for the first time. To reflect this massive change, Google came up with the idea of mobile-first indexing. Basically, the rank sites based on their phones rather than desktop if your search from your phone. Google are notorious for their aim of making everything easier for their users, so you can understand why this is a priority.

What can we do?

Responsive Design

Responsive web design is the easiest and cheapest way to make sure you’re small device friendly. It allows sites to adjust to any type of screen size or device. You can allow your content to be resized, enlarged, moved and shrunk to fit the user’s screen. So instead of designing in the order of phone, tablet, laptop, responsive design goes from desktop, tablet, phone. It means one system to control how it appears across the device sizes.

Mobile Websites

A mobile website is similar to every other website, it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for phones typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). What distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface. You’ll notice some websites start with a www.m. when you access them from your mobile phone.

The main drawback here is a mobile website requires extra planning, design and resources to create, although it’s not as expensive as our third option.


Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your phone, rather than being used within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system.

The glaring drawback here is the much larger price and time that can be sunk into designing and building an app (although there are some ways to reduce the expense).


WordPress and many website builders offer responsive design as standard. If you’re interested in learning more about responsive and mobile-first design, get in touch with us today. 

All new apps and websites should cater to mobile first design