Why Web Designers Hate Mobile-First

There has been a lot of debate recently over the mobile-first strategy of web design. Of course, in an era of 1.2 Billion Mobile Web users, it makes sense to design with the mobile platform in mind, and even to use responsive design to create customer designs for each screen size.

When I first learned the art of responsive design, I definitely had some fun with this technique, by making websites that changed colors and morphed like chameleons as you adjusted your window size (maybe not the most practical design strategy in the end).

Responsive Web Design
Responsive Web Design

So what is about the idea of mobile-first design, that has so many designers’ panties in a wad?

Part of it might be that designing for a 320x568px screen just isn’t as much fun as designing for a 30inch desktop display (2560x1600px).

It’s one thing to design for the glorious iMac canvas, and then make an alternate version for those less fortunate folks, who will only get a simplified glimpse of your masterpiece, but to create the entire design based on the mobile device just seems backwards.

I mean, for peat’s sake, what am I supposed to do with all those spectacular onClick and RollOver effects? What was the point of even learning JavaScript?

I was just getting excited about some of the new features made possible by HTML5, such as the ridiculously awesome Parallax-Scrolling effect, and now you’re telling me that I should just leave all those magic tricks in the hat and focus on minimalism, small images sizes, quick page-loading speeds?

The audacity! Although….

As a user, I do appreciate being able to pull out my android at any given moment and look something up. The thing to keep in mind, is that the ultimate goal of a web designer is to create something that is functional and easy to use.

Smart Phone
Smart Phone

Design exists as a means to improve the overall experience of the user. So unless the user is viewing the  webpage, simply to appreciate its artistic beauty and innovative interactive features (which, I actually do from time to time), the goal of design should be usability first…and maybe, at this point in time, that means designing for mobile first.

In this industry, it’s essential to be able to adapt your skills to the technology of the times, but with any luck, in the next 10 years, I’ll be witting about designing for holographic pocket projectors first. That’s the dream!

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