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Browsing On The Go: A Case For Mobile-First Web Design

Last Updated April 26, 2021

We bet you’re reading this from a mobile device.

It's a bet

And that’s exactly why we’re going to talk about mobile-first web design. 

With an increasing number of people switching to mobile devices to do everything from online shopping to interacting with their social circle, it only makes sense that in order to provide an exceptional experience, you optimize your app and website’s interface for your audiences. 

The mobile-first design strategy is one that guides a designer to develop a website’s mobile device view first and then move on to adding elements for larger desktop screens. 

Why bother with this strategy?

The biggest reason behind completely turning around the way your web designer works is...your conversion rate optimization strategy.      

Mobile conversion rates are 64% higher than desktop conversion rates. Wowza!

Why You Should Rave About Mobile First Design

Apart from the impressive conversion rates, remember that Google also takes into account how mobile-friendly a platform is when ranking on their search engine and awarding the prestigious page 1, top spot. 

When you begin your design with mobile in mind the download time is faster. Every second counts, especially since a second’s loss can lower conversions by 7 percent

In technical-speak, you’re executing progressive enhancement. This is when you build your website with simplicity in mind (aka on a primary small screen), which acts as a strong foundation for your excellent content. 


Mobile first design really forces you to keep things concise and maintain clarity. You get to determine content and design elements that do very little for the user experience, and highlight those same elements that improve their experience.

Mobile First vs. Responsive Design

One of the most common mistakes people make is interchangeably using the terms mobile-first design and responsive design. 

Responsive design is focused on the desktop and is optimized on resolution, navigation and download speed according to desktops. Mobile-first, as the name suggests, put primary focus on tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. 

Deciding whether you should adopt responsive or mobile first design depends on your business. 

👉 If you’re a B2B company that’s structured with rich HTML content and wants to portray itself as an authoritative platform with tons of information, responsive design may be your best option because your audience is likely to access your platform during office hours when they use a desktop. 

👉 If you have large and complex CTA and forms on your site, responsive design is great for you as well. 

👉 If you’re an eCommerce business where your demographic is likely to browse a lot of pages, your conversion rate will only get better with a mobile-first strategy. 

👉 If your CTAs are simple and impactful, mobile-first design is the way to go. 

How to Ace the Mobile First Design Game

Some best practices of mobile first design include:

  • Clean lines, bright colors, and bold shapes but minimalist design to focus attention instead of take away.
  • To make sure that your site is loading fast you can always test it out on the Test My Site tool by Google.  
  • Always use a cross-platform and browser tool to see how your final website is performing no matter how much you are in love with what you have created. This will help you see how the site works on different operating systems. 
  • People don't have time to call your customer support and deal with the time they are put on hold. You need to use methods such as an automated help desk which can solve problems then and there. Not only are help desk softwares responsive, they can track previous conversations with users as well. 

Ignoring mobile design is the difference between a site that makes bank and one that is still trying to perfect their lead strategy. A mobile-first strategy is not only effective but streamlines the process for your content and design team as well. 

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TJ Jones -  CoFounder EmberTribe (1)

T.J. Jones

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