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What’s Best — Mobile-First or Responsive Design Websites?

What’s Best — Mobile-First or Responsive Design Websites?

What’s Best — Mobile-First or Responsive Design Websites?

Everyone has a smartphone. And everyone is using them to access email and social media, pay bills and play games.

Your business can’t ignore how critical smartphones and other mobile devices have become for online searches and purchases — for both consumers and business-to-business (B2B) companies. But how can you optimize your website to meet the needs of mobile views?

There are two primary approaches — mobile-first design and responsive web design. But what’s the difference between the two methods and what approach is the best fit for your company?

What is Mobile-First Design?

As the name suggests, mobile-first website design considers the mobile proportions and functionality of smaller screens. Your whole design and layout is designed to deliver an engaging and aesthetically pleasing mobile user experience by offering:

  • User-friendly touchscreen navigation
  • Reduced amount of content
  • Scaled, contrasting, typeface and larger font size
  • Relevant matching icons and large buttons
  • Quick download speeds
  • Rich media content targeting specific audiences
  • Expandable “hamburger” menus that preview what is inside each section

A laptop/desktop-first approach can produce a less-than-optimal user experience when viewed on mobile. Functionalities designed for larger screens do not necessarily process and respond well on mobile. In addition, website tools and effects that look amazing on larger screens may look clunky on a mobile device.

You might ask — isn’t responsiveness a component of mobile design? It is! But it’s not an interchangeable concept.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive design starts with the laptop/desktop and scales to respond to changes in device display sizes. You build your site considering the maximum required resolution and then scale down with elements of the page dynamically resizing and adjusting based on the size of the window.

A responsive site can improve:

  • Navigation
  • Content
  • Download speeds

But while a responsive site is reactive to mobile, it is not optimized to be mobile-first. The content and layout will shift to fit smartphones but they don’t necessarily accommodate unique mobile features like touchscreens and switching from horizontal to vertical displays. This can make for a subpar mobile experience.

Which Strategy is Right for Your Company?

According to a 2017 report published by Google in partnership with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 50% of B2B search queries are made on smartphones. That same report predicted that this number would grow to 70% by 2020.

You can’t rest at simply being reactive. A mobile-first design is proactive, anticipating and ensuring the mobile experience is just as good if not better than the desktop experience. Many business-to-consumer (B2C) companies should have a mobile-first design in order to make it easier to execute purchase on a mobile devise. On the other hand, B2B companies have websites that are intended to inform and educate the viewers. A responsive website design is adequate for this type of viewer. If you are considering updating your website, now is the time to think about your visitors and how they are accessing your website.

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The Deciding Factor can help make your website exact, current and relevant. Contact us to learn how we can design your website to master mobile marketing.