What is the Difference Between Mobile-First Design, Adaptive and Responsive

What is the Difference Between Mobile-First Design, Adaptive and Responsive

In this article we answer the question What is the Difference Between Mobile-First Design, Adaptive and Responsive?

Mobile-first practice shows that it’s the best method of website design development. It is to create a complex mobile interface, which is then adapted to desktops.

When everything happens the other way around, it’s contrary to established practice. 

Why this side? By creating a mobile device design first, you avoid rudely-made mobile versions, incorrectly located interface elements, and errors when opening links.

In this article, you will find out how mobile-centric web design differs from responsive and adaptive.

Mobile-First Design Vs. Responsive and Adaptive

To understand the difference between mobile-first design, and adaptive and responsive design, let’s consider these concepts.

Adaptive Design

Adaptive websites contain multiple layouts that have elements placed differently to display on screens of different sizes. When you open a website, the site engine determines the resolution and aspect screen’s ratio and its size. These factors help to select and denote the most suitable one.

So, working on an adaptive design, designers create different layouts for screens of different sizes. For example, the layout for smartphones is 4’-6’, for tablets – from 7’ to 11’, and for desktops is 12’ and more.

Responsive Design

Developing responsive design, the website layout expands or shrinks depending on the user’s display width. The page rearranges its elements even if the window changes one pixel. 

Such a development method takes less time and costs. However, you need to understand what users want to see when using the website’s mobile version and which elements are superfluous. It would also be good if you made sure that all elements look good both on smartphones and tablets.

Both adaptive and responsive designs suit different screen sizes. Compared to adaptive, responsive design, content is focused on fitting the screen. The content in adaptive design changes dynamically.

It’s also important to note that responsive design, by its origin, has a multi-purpose HTML markup and flexible layout.

Mobile-First Design

Mobile pages often look bad when the website is initially built for desktop and then adapted for mobile devices. This approach is old-fashioned and one of the disadvantages of responsive and adaptive designs.

The mobile-first design approach is the opposite: the design is created for a mobile device first, and then it’s adapted for desktop. Designers move from small screens to large, providing users with the correct and comfortable interface on different devices. 

This approach aims to place all the necessary content like text, functions, buttons, calls to action in a limited space. All these elements should be positioned on the screen, so that the user can quickly see and easily interact with them.

Why is a Mobile-First Design Extremely Important to Business?

Compared to the average conversion rate on desktops, the conversion rate on mobile devices increased by 64%. So that, by choosing a mobile-first design strategy, you can increase the revenue of your business.

Google evaluates mobile versions of websites very closely to rank them correctly. So if you are going to launch a new project, mobile-first web design development is a good solution. 

It also allows you to provide your customers with the ability to access content quickly. Remember that the more elements your page has, the longer it will take to load.

It should be taken into account that conversions will decrease by 7% with every second of delay.

Deal With Content

It doesn’t matter if you create an enterprise UX or a website mobile design for ordinary users. They should only get the content they need, so you must pay great attention to it when developing.

It would be best if you looked at it through the users’ eyes for whom you are creating the website.

If your UI/UX team has a strict space limitation, they will leave only the most important elements in the user interface and remove unnecessary ones to keep users’ attention on the main one.

You can remove all unnecessary elements but only from the mobile site version. They can be useful for the desktop, as the users’ needs of different website versions vary.

For example, desktop users often need detailed information or more features that don’t make sense to include in a mobile version.

All buttons, functions, and other elements should be placed in an appropriate place –  this is the main goal of the website design.

Tips for Mobile-First Design Creation

All tips below are specific to content because they are central to mobile design. They will help you to create a design for your mobile website version.

  • Make a list of all the content you want to put on your website.
  • Arrange the priority elements in the most visible website location.
  • Create a design consistently. Provide your team with the opportunity to framework and design from small screens to large ones. This will help your team cover all screen sizes from mobile version to desktop.
  • Increase all navigation and interactive element size as the touch area of your fingers is larger than that of a pixelated mouse. For example, you can make the touch area 44 pixels as recommended by Apple. Don’t forget to give all interactive elements and hyperlinks enough space and, if needed, enlarge them slightly.
  • Imagine that your mobile site is an app. It will help you to build easy navigation, widgets, AJAX requests, and other elements as users are used to certain interaction patterns with apps.
  • Don’t make large and complex graphics, because they display badly on small screens.
  • Make an important text size at least 16pt and enough line spacing for the user to read your text comfortably.
  •  Remember the safe site content area. Make sure that the content doesn’t border closely on the screen edges. To avoid this, Apple recommends a spacing of 16 px.

Summing Up

A good UX should always be at the heart of your product. It shouldn’t be neglected these days. The approach to UX development is considered one of the most challenging but perspectives.

It’s suitable for all services, commercial organizations, and other products that depend on the modern fast life pace.

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