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Responsive Web Design or Mobile First?

By Limo SEO Agent | 2 years ago

If you ask yourself “Are the majority of people going to read the following article on their phones or their desktop computers and laptops?”, the answer may surprise you.

The research shows that more than 50% of internet users surf the Internet via mobile phones, and it’s most likely that the number will only increase by the end of this year (up to 75%!). If you think about it carefully, it’s the only logical outcome considering the following:

  • The majority of people are almost always on the go and what better way to visit the web than on their phones
  • These days, nearly everyone uses a mobile phone and not everyone has a desktop computer. Why? Because phones continue to improve and replace almost every purpose of computers while adding even more useful features
  • It is more practical to use a mobile phone for reading while on the go
  • Unless it’s something job-related that requires a bigger screen, all people will choose to use their phone because it’s more convenient than taking out your laptop or switching on your desktop computer whenever you want to look up something on the Internet

In the sea of existing websites and a lot of competition on the market, no one wants to waste time on sites that don’t work well. If you think that making a mobile responsive site will fix the problem, the outcome will disappoint you, especially if you think about the future. It just won’t be enough.

Firstly, let’s talk about the difference between mobile responsive and mobile first websites.

Difference - Mobile First Design

What makes “Mobile Responsive” design different from the
“Mobile First” design?

The main difference between these two designs is the priority medium for which the sites are created. To help you understand it better, let’s talk about both of them in more detail.

Mobile responsive design

When creating a website, a natural process in the near past was creating it for:

  • Desktop computers as a priority
  • Laptops/tablets
  • Mobile phones in the end

A mobile responsive site is a site that was initially designed for desktop computers, then adjusted for laptops and tablets, and lastly, for mobile phones.

Sounds fine, doesn’t it? The thing is that this was a logical solution considering that the majority of internet users were using their computers on a daily basis, while the phones weren’t so popular. In that case, all of the content that could be found on the website could also be found on the phones, but in a slightly different form.

While this solution was pretty neat and reasonable five years ago, with how things are today, this is not enough to please the increasing number of mobile users.

What’s the solution then? Believe it or not, it’s quite simple!

Instead of creating a website for desktop computers and then adjusting them to work on mobile phones, the future will bring us the opposite process.

Mobile first design

Mobile First Design

As you can tell, mobile phones will be in the center of attention because they will have more users. This means that the sites need to be made for mobile first and then adjusted to the less popular medium – in this case, desktop computers.

This requires the following changes:

  • The content of the website should be shorter – it should give as much information as possible but with fewer words. The reason why is pretty simple – reading a really long text on a small screen of a mobile phone can be really exhausting. That’s why users who read content on their phones prefer shorter texts that are easy to scan and quick to read
  • This brings us to the design of the mobile-first sites. They should look simple yet interesting. This can be a bit tricky to produce. The site should, more or less, have shorter paragraphs, meaningful titles and subtitles, fewer pages, vivid colors and quality pictures that will attract the attention and make the reading more interesting
  • The images on the site need to be adjusted to the overall design as well as the speed of the site. This means that the images should be compressed enough to load quickly but quality enough to look well on both phones and desktop computers
  • When speaking about the speed, it’s important for a site to load within the first three seconds, more or less. A lot of users will give up if the site they wanted to visit doesn’t load fast enough. This is very important for the Google ranking system as well

Which Approach Is Better? – the Final Verdict

Approach - Mobile First Design

If you own a business and have a website that’s mobile responsive, you should consider taking a different approach; otherwise, you’ll notice worse rating on Google which will cause fewer visitors and therefore your business will suffer.

If you’re wondering “Why should I change the design if my visitors use desktop computers?” you should know that even though the way your site works may be good now, and the majority of your users reads the content via desktop computers, this will change very quickly, and you should be prepared for that as soon as possible.

At the end of the day, why waste money on making a more expensive version of the site for the computers? And why invest even more in the mobile optimization, an app or an entirely different mobile site that looks completely different from the original site if you don’t have to?

Save both money and time, and help your business in the long run. You can to it by creating a mobile-first site that will make your users happy. Why? Because only happy users will stay longer on your website and come back again in the future.

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