Is "mobile first" approach good idea in web design?


When you start building a website nowadays, do you do “mobile first” approach, or desktop first and then “shrink” for desktop?

The reason I ask is because I started in 2011 when responsive design wasn’t “in” yet, and then when it started to be popular, what I would do is make the website desktop version and after a few months the client would request responsiveness added.

So it became a habit, but nowadays all websites have to be responsive, so I would first make it desktop version and then add media queries. I read about “mobile first” approach, but I am not sure if it will be easier or not.

So experts, what is your opinion?

Thank you!


Responsive website to me sounds like “color television”. You don’t go out to buy a color television, color is implied. Same with web, the responsive behaviour of a website is implied.

I’d say start with content and build from there. HTML works everywhere if you don’t add CSS and JS. Start small (small screens) and go from there.

Things grow easily:


But shrinking is a bit more difficult:


I’ve written this article on why we should start with HTML:

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Very concise! I agree with you to start small and go from there. I will read your article.

Interested in your opinion on it :slight_smile:

It is good : )

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While I haven’t published anything on ThemeForest my main profession is implementing backend and frontend code for integration projects and complex web services and I was part of a few big projects where legacy sites were transformed into modern responsive sites and worked close with the designers on those tasks for a few years.

From my perspective I’d say that it depends a bit on the case and role of the site itself and requires good analytics to back the decision up. For example some commercial sites might notice that even as the mobile use is growing, it might still be that many users decide to actually buy something only with desktop, while using the mobile purely for the initial browsing and then switching to desktop to make the actual purchase. Then again, this is something that might be a different thing in 5 years time.

From this perspective it might not be reasonable to spend effort on Mobile First if the desktop use is that main beef.

So it really depends on the site and the concept. I’d say that if you make a good responsive grid system and build the mobile, tablet, desktop cases from same building blocks, it doesn’t really require mobile first to make it good.

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Agree. Of course I am all against panaceia, I think each website is unique on its own and context means a TON in web design and programming.

I don’t remember myself ever buying something on my phone, usually I browse and then go to desktop and buy.