One of the major catalysts for the rise of mobile-first web design was the announcement from Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google. On the Mobile World Congress in 2010, he announced that Google was going to be taking the mobile-first web design approach from now on, going so far as to say “I think it’s now the joint project of all of us to make mobile the answer to pretty much everything” and that designers should follow the “mobile first” rule in product design (source).
Slowly, Google started executing their “Mobile First” algorithm into its search engines in March 2018. As a result, websites that load faster and perform better across mobile, tablet and desktop devices, rank higher in Google’s search. It’s a change that makes it vitally important to have the best performing websites on ALL devices across EVERY niche.
Most mobile sites are constructed for desktop first, then the elements of the website are manipulated to fit smaller screens last. This is what we all know as mobile-responsive or mobile-friendly site design. This approach to building a site that’s mobile friendly or responsive causes all sorts of problems.
Things that are in one place on your computer screen are in totally different places on your cell phone. Then you spend a lot of time going back and forth, reshaping your main site to make sure it works on mobile. It’s completely frustrating and a huge waste of time. If you’ve ever built a website before, you know exactly what I mean. What’s worse and has a larger effect, is you’re compromising the performance of your website!
The growing importance of mobile designs has contributed to many top designers following a “Mobile-First” strategy with their designs.
Mobile-first web design is an independent technical approach to building websites. Instead of building a site for the screens of larger devices primarily, the technique suggests that you put a smaller smartphone screen in the heart of your web development strategy.
This allows you to focus on the essentials mainly, bringing the primary focus on the design elements and pieces of content that bear the major importance for your brand and your audience.
When a user accesses mobile-first web pages, additional layers of content are added further. This makes your site well thought-out and content-centric. (source)
“Mobile first”, as the name suggests, means that you start the product design from the mobile end which has more restrictions, then expand its features to create a tablet or desktop version.
Therefore, if you take the mobile end product design as a starting point, under the restrictions like bandwidth, screen size and so on, you, being the designer, will naturally seize the key points of your product, and create a lean and neat product with prioritized features.
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