Mobile First vs Desktop First

By Frank Forte

Lately, I have read and heard people talk about mobile first design. This is ridiculous! Even though I like the idea of starting simple and then adding on more features or content, rather than rearranging a large and complex design, so that people can access that content on a smartphone. Sure a growing number of people access the web from their phone more often than from a laptop or desk top computer. This doesn’t mean one should design for mobile first. The audience and the content should dictate the design approach.

Content first!

The most effective approach is content first. Sometimes, a mobile landing page should be custom and very targeted. Other times it should have content identical to the desktop website. In either case, the design needs to consider how to present the most important content first, followed by any other content that adds value.

So, which is it? Design for mobile first or desktop first? There is no right answer, but there are plenty of wrong answers to making content available to desktop and mobile audiences. In either case, the content should be designed to look good on mobile, desktop, and tablet since you never know what device people will use to access your site. Responsive design is one of the best solutions to presenting the same content in different ways.

One last thing. If you have a different page for mobile, at least give the option to easily go to the desktop site.

For a design that works well on mobile and desktop, take a look at

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 17th, 2012 at 4:13 am and is filed under Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.