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The Difference Between Mobile-First and Responsive Design

You might have heard the terms mobile-first design and responsive design thrown around in meetings, but do you really know what they mean?  Today we’re going to teach you the basics of both, explain how they are different, and give you all the information you need to decide which approach is better for your business.

Responsive Design

responsive designResponsive design is a website that is built for the maximum desktop resolution with customization that allows it to scale down to the smallest screen, traditionally a smartphone.  Websites designed with responsive design became the gold standard around 2012.

The smaller, adapted version gives mobile users a better experience than if they looked up a non-responsive website and tried to use it on their phone.

Today’s responsive design websites are most common with B2B companies needing to put a heavy emphasis on content.  The rich HTML content used on these sites is specifically in place to help boost search engine optimization (SEO) performance.

Responsive website design is great for companies that:

  • are content heavy website
  • contain long forms and complex calls-to-action
  • want to focus on SEO
  • don’t have a heavy mobile user customer base

Mobile-First Design

Mobile-first design is similar to responsive design, just in reverse.  With mobile-first, the website is designed like an app and then is adapted to a layout that can be viewed on tablets and websites.  Unlike responsively designed websites, the mobile-first design puts the speed and usability of the mobile user first, making them less optimal for laptop and desktop users.

While mobile-first design can be more expensive, if your customer base is made up of mostly mobile users, which as of 2018 includes more than 52% of all web traffic, then you should really give this option consideration.

Mobile-first design is great for companies that:

  • have a heavy mobile user base
  • have content, videos, and images that are easily viewable on a mobile device
  • are looking for a more cost-effective option than building a mobile app

Now that you have a firm understanding of the difference, it’s time to check your analytics!  Refer to your Google Analytics to determine where your user base is mostly coming from and what pages they spend the most time on.  This information will be your guide and should be given heavy consideration to when determining which website design style is best for your company.

 

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