Mobile First

May 20, 2023

Mobile First is an approach to web design and development that prioritizes the design and development of websites for mobile devices before desktops. This approach requires developers to create a responsive design that is optimized for mobile devices, and then expand the design for larger screens, such as desktops or laptops.

The philosophy behind Mobile First is that the majority of users access websites on mobile devices, and the optimization of the site for mobile devices leads to better user experiences, improved load times, and ultimately, better conversion rates. This approach also ensures that the design of the website is focused on the essential elements of the site, rather than bloated with unnecessary features and elements.


The Mobile First approach was first introduced by designer and author, Luke Wroblewski. In his book, “Mobile First,” Wroblewski argued that the Mobile First approach could lead to better website design by prioritizing the essential elements of the website and removing unnecessary clutter.

The Mobile First approach became increasingly popular as mobile devices became the primary mode of accessing the internet. In 2018, mobile devices accounted for approximately 52% of all website traffic worldwide, according to Statista.


There are several benefits to using the Mobile First approach, including:

Improved User Experience

By designing for mobile devices first, developers can ensure that the most important aspects of the website are easily accessible and usable on smaller screens. This can result in a better user experience as users are more likely to stay on the site and engage with the content.

Faster Load Times

Mobile devices typically have slower internet connections than desktops, so designing for mobile first can help reduce the size of the website and improve load times. This is especially important for users who are accessing the site on-the-go.

Better Visibility in Search Engines

Search engines, such as Google, prioritize mobile-friendly websites in search results. By designing for mobile devices first, developers can ensure that the website is optimized for mobile search and has a better chance of ranking higher in search results.

Increased Conversion Rates

A better user experience, faster load times, and better visibility in search engines can all contribute to increased conversion rates. Mobile users are more likely to convert if they have a positive experience on the site, and if the site is easily accessible and quick to load.


Designing for mobile first requires a shift in the traditional web design process. Instead of designing for desktops and then scaling down for mobile devices, developers must start with the smallest screen size and work their way up. This can be achieved by following these steps:

Step 1: Identify the Key Elements

Identify the most important elements of the website, such as the logo, navigation, and call-to-action buttons. These elements should be easily accessible and prominent on smaller screens.

Step 2: Use a Responsive Design

Design the website using a responsive design that can adapt to different screen sizes. This can be achieved using CSS media queries, which allow developers to apply different styles to different screen sizes.

Step 3: Prioritize Content

Focus on the essential content of the website, and remove any unnecessary elements. This can help ensure that the website is optimized for mobile devices and improve load times.

Step 4: Test and Refine

Test the website on different devices and refine the design as necessary. This can help ensure that the website is optimized for a range of screen sizes and devices.


While the Mobile First approach offers several benefits, there are also some challenges that developers may encounter, including:

Limited Screen Real Estate

Designing for mobile devices requires developers to prioritize essential elements and remove unnecessary clutter. However, this can be challenging when there is limited screen real estate available.

Complex Navigation

Navigation can be more challenging on mobile devices, as there is less space available for menus and submenus. Developers must find creative solutions to ensure that navigation is user-friendly and easily accessible.

Technical Limitations

Not all mobile devices have the same capabilities, which can create technical limitations for developers. For example, older devices may not support certain technologies, such as HTML5 or CSS3.