Mobile First or Desktop First Website: Which One Works Better?

August 1, 2022

There's never been a better time to build a mobile website. In fact, Google has made it clear that mobile websites should rank higher than desktop versions. But how do you decide whether to make mobile first or desktop first website?

It depends on who you ask. Some experts say mobile first works best because it makes sense from a user experience perspective. Others say desktop first is the way to go because it gives users a familiar environment.

In this article, we'll compare and contrast both approaches so you can choose which one will work best for your business.

Mobile First or Desktop First Website: Which One Works Best?

What is mobile-first vs. desktop-first?

The term "mobile-first" refers to web design in which the content of a page is optimized for viewing on smartphones and tablets. This means that the text size is larger and images are bigger. The idea behind mobile-first development is to create an optimal experience for people using smaller screens.

On the other hand, "desktop-first" refers to creating pages with the same look and feel as they would appear if viewed on a computer screen. The goal here is to give users a familiar environment when browsing the Internet.

Mobile-First Design

What is a mobile-first website?

A mobile-first website focuses on making sure that the content looks good on small devices. It does this by optimizing the layout and content for smartphone and tablet use. For example, the font might be larger and the colors brighter. Images may also be enlarged to fill up more space.

This approach makes sense because most people now access the Internet through their phones. If you want your website to rank well in search engines, then you need to optimize it for mobile usage.

What are the benefits of a mobile-first website?

There are several reasons why mobile-first design is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. Here are some of them:

  1. Users prefer mobile sites.
    According to research conducted by Google, about 60% of all searches performed online happen via mobile devices. That's why it's important to have a mobile version of your website.
  2. Search engines favor mobile-friendly sites.
    When Google crawls your site, it checks to see if the site loads quickly and displays properly on a mobile device. If not, it won't show up in search results.
  3. A mobile-first website is easier to update.
    You don't have to worry about updating a large desktop site every time there's a new feature or change. Instead, you only have to update the mobile version.
  4. Mobile-first designs are SEO friendly.
    Because mobile-first sites load faster, they tend to rank higher in search engine results.
  5. Mobile-first design is more accessible.
    People with disabilities often rely on assistive technology such as screen readers and magnification tools. These technologies can be difficult to navigate without a mouse pointer. With a mobile-first website, these features are already built into the site.

What are the disadvantages of a mobile-first website?

While mobile-first design has many advantages, it also comes with a few drawbacks. Here are some of the downsides:

  1. It takes longer to create.
    Since mobile-first websites are smaller and simpler, they take longer to develop.
  2. Mobile-first websites aren't always compatible with older browsers.
    Some web browsers may not support certain features found on mobile-only sites. For example, they might lack support for JavaScript, CSS, or HTML 5.
  3. Mobile-first websites look different.
    The way text appears on a smartphone screen is different than what we expect on our computers. This means that the layout of a mobile-first site could appear strange to visitors.
  4. Mobile-first websites require extra maintenance.
    While you don't need to maintain two versions of your site, you do need to keep them updated separately.
  5. Mobile-first websites don't scale up easily.
    If you want to add a new feature or redesign an existing one, you'll have to go back and forth between mobile and desktop versions.

Desktop-First Design

What is a desktop-first website?

Desktop-first websites are designed to work well on desktops and laptops. They're optimized for viewing on large monitors, and they use simple designs that are easy to navigate.

They're great for blogs, e-books, and online courses because they allow users to easily view content on any device, including tablets and smartphones.

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to create a professional web presence, consider creating a desktop-first website.

What are the benefits of a desktop-first website?

Here are some of the reasons why desktop-first websites are better than mobile-first ones:

  1. They're easier to read.
    On a computer monitor, text looks crisp and clear. But when viewed on a phone or tablet, text becomes small and hard to read. Desktop-first websites are easier to read on all devices.
  2. They're easier to navigate.
    When designing a desktop-first website, you only need to worry about making sure it works well on a single device. That makes navigation much easier since there's no need to think about how it will look on multiple screens.
  3. They're easier to customize.
    Because desktop-first websites are bigger, they give you more room to play around with the design. You can change colors, fonts, and even add images.
  4. They're more secure.
    A desktop-first website doesn't run in a browser window. Instead, it loads directly from the server. This makes it harder for hackers to access personal information.
  5. They're easier to maintain.
    With desktop-first websites, you only need to update one version at a time. There's no need to make changes to both a mobile and desktop version.

What are the disadvantages of a desktop-first website?

There are also some drawbacks to using desktop-first websites:

  1. You will need to create a different content for each platform.
    A mobile first website allows you to create separate versions of your website for each platform. These include iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. Each platform has its own set of unique characteristics. For example, iPhones typically have larger screens than Android phones. Therefore, you will need to create a different layout for each platform. For example, you may need to change the font size, color scheme, and navigation menu structure.
  2. You will need to test every page individually.
    With a desktop first website, each page needs to be tested separately. This means that you need to test each individual page on each platform. Testing each page individually can be difficult because you need to test every aspect of the page. For example, you will need to test the font size, image quality, button placement, and more.
  3. It may take longer to load pages.
    Desktop-first websites load pages longer than mobile-first sites. This is because desktop-first websites don't automatically resize themselves based on screen size. As a result, they require more resources to load.
  4. They require more maintenance.
    Because desktop-first websites are so big, they require more maintenance. If you want to change something like the background color, you'll need to go through each page and make the necessary changes.
  5. They can be difficult to convert into mobile apps.
    When creating a mobile app, you should always use a mobile first approach. This way, you can easily convert your app into a web app later on.

Which is better? Mobile first or desktop first website?

Mobile websites are becoming increasingly popular because they're convenient and fast. But there's no denying that mobile sites aren't nearly as attractive as full-featured desktop websites.

That's where responsive web design comes in. Responsive web design (RWD) allows users to access your site through any device, including smartphones and tablets. This means your site looks great on desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets.

Responsive web design isn't just for mobile devices anymore. RWD makes it possible for anyone to view your site on any screen, regardless of whether it's a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

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