The Mobile First Design: Why Working Backwards is the Best Practice

There’s a trend going on in web design, but a trend may not be the best way to describe it. Mobile first web design is starting to become the status quo for web designers and app engineers.

In the past, due to more processing power desktops had their very own interfaces. But now, as more and more people migrate towards smartphones and away from laptops/desktop PCs, mobile designs are naturally drawing more focus and attraction.

Let’s take a look at this new “backward” approach to web design, and why you should heavily consider using it when you build your next app or website.


1. Everyone is on Smartphones

If you take a look at the statistics, you’ll see that far more people are accessing the web through smartphones rather than actual PCs. 1.2 billion people, to be exact. And 25% of those people access the internet exclusively through a mobile device, meaning they will probably never see or access the PC version of your website or app.

The reasoning behind this is because smartphones are cheaper on average, and more convenient. Why bother using a laptop when you can do almost all the same activities on a piece of equipment that fits in your pocket? This is the number one reason why mobile website design is on the rise.


2. Prioritizing a Mobile Design First Means It’s All Uphill from There

Often, you and your team will have the most energy and initiative when first starting on a project. Thus, if you use all of that fresh motivation on tackling the hard part of web/app design first, it’s only going to get easier from there.

Designing your app or website to work correctly and beautifully on smaller devices with less processing power will be a challenge. But, once completed, you can brainstorm ways to make it more robust on a bigger device, rather than worrying about watering it down and cutting out features.

While this theory clashes with the more common trend of graceful degradation, it goes hand in hand with another web design trend gaining steam, responsive web design.

By combining mobile-first design and responsive web design, you can target specific viewport sizes and devices with media queries and search engine optimization to selectively offer new styling for your UI/UX as the size of the consumer’s viewport increases.

You can add a new mobile layout as you see fit, based on your query results. All you have to do is structure your media queries from small to large, rather than the other way around.


Stay Ahead of the Game

Graceful degradation is yesterday’s web design strategy. With so many people continuing to migrate to smartphones, it only makes sense to start from there and work your way up to larger viewports with a   strategy.

In this case, you can stay ahead of the game by following the herd. Give your most massive consumer base the brunt of your time and attention, and worry about scaling up after you’ve perfected your mobile design. You’ll be thanking yourself later.