Mobile first approach to responsive web design

The world of web design is constantly evolving and going through many changes. Over the last few years the terminology “responsive web design” has been continuously banded about. Google made changes to its search algorithm to respond to the increasing number of mobile searches and websites that were not created with a responsive design or mobile optimised pages were being penalized.

This mobile trend however has been increasing and has surpassed desktop usage. This now will never be reversible. Mobile is now. It is here to stay. Not having a responsive design is now detrimental to your business. Not considering a responsive website is online suicide.

There is however a new approach to responsive websites, the “Mobile-first approach”. Rather than create a fluid design which stems from the desktop version, the developer focuses first on how the website looks when someone visits from a mobile device such as a tablet, smartphone or any other kind of mobile gadget.

We know that responsive web design is essential for anyone running a business. The responsive design is essential, but mobile-first shifts the emphasis from having your mobile version as a secondary thought, to making it the primary version.

Mobile First Web Design

All professional online marketers are aware of the importance of content marketing tactics and that is the reason why they understand that content is the priority with their websites. A decade ago, the aesthetics of the website itself was the most valuable asset that companies had in order to sell.

The content was almost seen as a secondary element and it didn’t matter as much as the visual aspect. Now, the content you publish needs to be useful and it needs to be good quality. In order to get the right information to your visitors, especially on mobile devices where space is limited, you need to focus on how the website looks on a mobile device.

How it looks on laptops and desktops will follow this and as the site speed has been optimized for mobile devices, the user experience on traditional devices will also be greatly improved. This is the reason why mobile-first web design is essential and the correct way to develop a website.

Important facts to consider

There are people who still question the need to focus on mobile results, but the truth is that a large percentage of people are browsing the web on a daily basis using their smartphones and other mobile devices. These numbers keep increasing and mobile traffic is above 50% usage in a lot of Countries.

The advantages of mobile first responsive design are:

  • Fully optimised designs with efficient navigability
  • Usability & content are the main priorities
  • Loading times are much faster
  • Compatible with all kinds of devices
  • A Mobile-first approach will also look great on desktops

Usability is important

Mobile First Design

We all know that content is King, and in order for your website to rank well on Google or any other search engine, you need to have enough relevant content. However, this does not mean that great design and usability is obsolete. Great content is not enough on its own.

Usability, user interaction, user experience and a well thought out design are all an essential part of a successful website. This is something that Google does state, so if most of your users are visiting your website via a mobile device, shouldn’t your website be designed for mobile devices rather than for desktops first?


Responsive web design and mobile web design in general need to be at the forefront of the developers’ minds. All web design companies and internet marketing companies are giving this a huge priority in their services, however only a handful of these businesses will actually spend just as much or more time designing the mobile interface for your new website compared to the desktop version.

One thing we must not forget is that the google algorithms control which websites we see in the search results. If your website is not well designed or mobile friendly then you will be penalized by Google, so your online visibility will be greatly reduced. The more you optimise the usability of your website on mobile devices, the more chance you have of achieving a higher search result placement and also a better visitor conversion rate.