You may be thinking that designing mobile first is obvious, not a new concept and something that everyone is already on board with, but you would be wrong. Despite the powers that be pushing for mobile first design and responsive development, there are many instances in which the world wide web is still somewhat lacking.
Mobile first must be considered as more than design, its focuses on the user experience and their overall journey through a site on a mobile device. It requires more than the obvious awareness of small screen size, it necessitates consideration for how this encounter is different to that on a desktop or computer.
Furthermore, by designing for mobile, you naturally take into consideration and accommodate for all screen sizes and instances of contact with the site. You gain a deeper understanding of the user, and a better strategy for ensuring results are generated from interactions with the site.
The mobile-first approach is a tenet of progressive enhancement. It is the ideology that mobile design, as the hardest, should be done first. Once the mobile design questions are answered, designing for other devices will be easier. Therefore, the smallest of the designs will have only the essential features, so right away you have designed the heart of your UX (user experience).
The opposite approach is graceful degradation. This incorporates all of the complexities right from the start, then strips them away later for smaller devices. The problem with graceful degradation is that when you build the all-inclusive design right from the start, the core and supplementary elements merge and become harder to distinguish and separate. The entire philosophy runs the risk of treating mobile design as more of an afterthought since you’re “cutting down” the experience.
Now you know why mobile first designing is important, here are some of our top tips for getting it right: