Why take a mobile-first approach to web development?

It is plain to see that web navigation is changing as users are employing more and more devices like smartphones and tablets for visualizing web content.

Recently I was working on the development of some new websites and, as it is often the case, the layouts I got were designed on a desktop-first basis. In such cases one of the tasks of the front-end developer is to scale the website layout from desktop to mobile.

There is nothing wrong in this way of proceeding, however it is not the best one in the present moment as users prefer smartphones and tablets for web navigation. Recent trends and statistics show that mobile devices in the last years have been growing exponentially.

This means that websites developed along a mobile-first approach, besides being more cross-device functional, have a larger appeal and a longer life, since users love a user experience that is at the tip of their fingers – the signature mark of mobile devices.

It is vital that our designers understand that we are in a moment of passage where users are migrating from desktops to smartphones and tablets, and that for this reason the winning approach is to create the design and user experience from mobile and then adapt it for desktop and not the other way round. Web agencies should make the move to mobile-first web development, but we should also help our clients understand the advantages of the mobile-first approach.

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