An Expert Guide to Mobile-First Responsive Design

CHI Software
4 min readMar 2, 2023
Practical tips to create mobile-first responsive design

The original article was published on the CHI Software blog.

This year you, as a business owner, should consider that a static website design that looks super good on the computer screen is insufficient. Mobile devices, tablets, and laptops are on top of the customers’ market. Therefore, in modern design, customer experience should be equally eye-catching on all screen dimensions.

Let’s talk about design that makes your website look its best on all devices, and fidget to learn practical tips from our expert on how to stay competitive in terms of design.

Mobile-First Design Insights

The recent statistics for mobile and desktop share worldwide show that mobile usage prevails over the desktop with 61% against 38% during the previous year alone. And this tendency is predicted to grow.

Aside from this statistics dominance, there are also a few more reasons to consider mobile-first design for your website:

  1. Better indexing in Google
  2. Improved website performance
  3. Enhanced user experience
  4. Greater accessibility
  5. Improved scalability

The mobile-first index is no longer a “hot” topic but rather a part of our daily life experience. Mobile-first indexing is enabled by default if your website was published after July 1, 2019. And since the announcement of the mobile-first index, Google has now also emphasized the Page Experience, which is a ranking factor and very much covers mobile.

Adaptive versus Responsive Design

Our designers use two main approaches when it comes to website design, e.i. responsive and adaptive.

Adaptive web design (AWD) chooses the best-suited option for the user’s screen size and uses fixed layouts. Such designs fit into these standard viewports; 320, 480, 760, 960, 1200, and 1600 pixels accordingly.

Responsive web design (RWD) automatically hides, shrinks, or enlarges a site to improve display on any user’s device. It means responsive design adjusts a website’s appearance according to the browser window size.

So, how do you make your website responsive and Google- and user-friendly?

An Expert Guide to a Mobile-First Website

The mobile-first approach in design means designing for the smallest screen first and working then your way up. Still, more importantly, it stands for creating a website based on your end-users’ needs, and it’s one of the most effective strategies now.

Mobile-first design principles

CHI Software design team recommends using the following principles when developing a mobile-friendly website:

  • Prioritize page content
How to prioritize page content

Consider your content first and strategically choose what is essential. Your website visitors will see your header on both your mobile and desktop site, so ensure it instantly conveys your brand identity. For instance, your desktop version might include extra imagery for viewers. Still, with less space on a mobile website version, you’ll want to ensure the imagery you display best conveys your logo and product images. Check more on our Behance.

  • Emphasize visual hierarchy
How to emphasize visual hierarchy in a mobile-first design

We advise considering website hierarchy when designing your website layout for mobile users. Carefully plot out your website content by adding ​​headers and subheaders, optimizing navigation tools, creating image blocks, and utilizing white space.

  • Deliver easy navigation
How to deliver easy navigation in a mobile-first design

With end users in mind, help them move on to your mobile site and meaningfully consume your content by adding clear CTAs and choosing the right menu. Many designers will opt for a hamburger menu to make the most out of the usable space on a mobile screen.

  • Minimize in-app pop-ups
Mobile-first design tip: avoid pop-ups

Pop-ups are one of the essential communication and conversion elements. However, be reasonable when using pop-ups not to be annoying and not to distract your users from meaningful website information or action.

  • Create a user-friendly interface
Mobile-first design best practices: user-friendly interface

Aside from content and visuals, ensure your mobile-first design is user-friendly. For example, mobile users have direct access to their cameras, touch screens, and autocomplete fields. It means you must attend to your website buttons, as a mobile site user will have a higher chance of clicking the wrong button.

  • Test under real conditions and on real devices
Mobile-first responsive design tips: test on real devices

And finally, before you publish, test your mobile site on real devices to understand how your user will experience your website. Try it on different screen sizes and devices to catch any variances between them. Check our case studies.

CHI Software UI/UX design team can help at any stage of your business growth. Starting with in-depth research, first sketches, full-fledged prototypes, or simply adding improvements to initial solutions.

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CHI Software

We solve real-life challenges with innovative, tech-savvy solutions. https://chisw.com/