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Gage Henderson
Gage Henderson

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Advantages of designing and/or developing a site "mobile-first"?

Just curious, I've tried this with a very recent project and I was wondering what other people's experience with designing (and/or developing) mobile-first was like.

It seems like it's a bit of a buzzword at the moment, I'm not even sure of it's actual definition, but I've interpreted it literally - Meaning, starting designs and/or development at mobile-sized resolutions.

Recently I designed mobile-first for a client who was very concerned with the responsiveness of their site. This made creating the designs a much smoother/simpler process initially - There was less space to work with, and less room for stylistic elements that you might spend more time creating on a desktop site.

However, once I finished the mobile designs and moved to larger screen resolutions, I started to notice a lot of dead-space that was hard to fill with substantial content or elements.

I like to think the site still turned out great (The client is happy with it:) But I still wonder if it would have turned out better if I hadn't designed mobile first.

What are your thoughts on the mobile-first workflow? Pros? Cons? Concerns?

P.S.
I actually developed the website "desktop-first" because I'm used to that workflow, but maybe it would've been better to stick to mobile first throughout the entire creation of the website.

Discussion (4)

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absinthetized profile image
Matteo Nunziati

Mot a website dev here, but the sme aplies to web apps. I always, always use emulation on chrome and Firefox ti constantly check the most common formats. I've found that focusing on a single format leads to bad renderings in the others.

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ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

Not sure if this is true for everyone, but I've consistently found it easier to start with a compact layout for mobile, and expand from there to larger layouts for other devices than to go the other way. So, if you design for mobile first, you might find it easier when you have to expand to larger displays. The caveat is that you have to be a bit more conscious as you scale up about how things look on really big screens (a layout made for a FHD screen size first is more likely to scale well to QHD than one made for a much smaller screen first).

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juli_krueger profile image
Julia Krueger-Pfannebecker

I just thought if there is a case, where mobile first is not the best option...but I couldn't come up with anything 🤷🏻‍♀️