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Explain the difference in approach when designing a responsive website over a mobile-first strategy

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If you heard about Responsive website design and mobile-first approach, then this article is for you. In this article, we will see what is the difference between Responsive website design and the mobile-first approach. 
In this article, we covered all necessary questions about Responsive website design and mobile-first like what is mobile-first and Responsive websites design and key differences in detail. Also discussed the advantages, disadvantages, and real-life examples.

What is Responsive website design?

Responsive web designs do the changes in layout as per device screen size. For example, when you see a website on a smartphone, you will see the website’s layout is fit to your mobile screen. Similarly, if you see websites on your tablet, laptop or desktop the dimensions of the layout are changed for the same.

Responsive web design takes care of the experience on the devices. It is thought that the user experience on any device is the same, and Accessibility is the same. Responsive websites work the same for all devices.

Examples:

Geeksforgeeks, sun magazine, site point.

Advantage:

  1. One website for all devices: This is the big advantage of Responsive design that eliminates the need to develop separate websites or apps for different devices. You can simply develop a desktop website and it gets fits to all devices. Developing such websites take less cost and time both.
  2. All content fits all frames: There is no need to zoom in or zoom out content for watching or clicking the buttons. Responsive design provides the advantage to do actions and makes the browsing process for all devices are same and friendly.
  3. Search one URL for all the devices: The most important benefit is that one URL adapts for any device Therefore no need to get a different host and all data is on the same server for all devices. This reduces the integration of data.

Disadvantages:

  1. Loading time is different for all devices: when we design responsive websites high-resolution graphics are used. Because of high-resolution graphics, the weight of the website is also high, so the time of loading is different for all devices. May mobile devices take a large time and desktop devices take a small amount of time.
  2. Complex coding: The flexibility of a responsive website leads to complex coding. Making responsive web design also requires writing more complicated CSS code. Therefore, it takes more time to develop such a website.
  3. Different User Interface: Responsive web design tries to design User interfaces for devices that are the same. Because websites can not lose users. However, it should very critical and complex UX design.

Mobile-first web design: 

The idea of a mobile-first approach to website design is to design websites for mobile devices first and then enhance this website for desktops and other devices. If you are using this approach, you should start developing a website from bottom to top, it means you start the website for mobile and then for all devices.

It uses a progressive enhancement concept. In progressive enhancement, We write code that is compatible with lower browsers versions first and then enhance towards the recent browser. Same like that this approach is designed for mobile first and then for all.

Examples:

Facebook, Instagram.

Advantages:

  1. Display necessary content: A smartphone has a small screen frame. This may lead to obstacles in displaying useful information, Mobile-first design approach allows you to include only necessary content. Avoiding unnecessary data shows only useful information.
  2. Simple coding: Mobile-first design approach requires simple coding than responsive design. Since coding is simple, fewer errors occur.  
  3. Simple User Interface: In the mobile-first approach the designed User interface is often simple. You can include only relevant data that fit the mobile screen.  

Disadvantages:

  1. More than one URL: In the mobile-first design approach we need to design different websites for mobile and desktop screens, therefore the URLs for mobile and desktop are also different.
  2. More Cost and time: Mobile-first web design we need two design two websites for mobile and desktop devices. But for different operating systems (for example., Android and iOS) websites also change. This is because of more time and costs for development.
  3. Content variations: Mobile device sites have useful information only, but desktop devices can be added information in detail. Because of content variations, users may confuse.

Key differences between Mobile-first design and Responsive websites design: 

Key points 

Responsive web design

Mobile-first approach

Layout It uses a single that fit all device displays. Two layouts are designed one for mobile and the second for desktop users.
Cost and time  Because single websites, less time and money requires.  Because of two websites, the cost of hosting and time for design is comparatively more than responsive design.
Code complexity  One website for all devices, so that code complexity is high and error also high. Two separate design leads to less code complexity.
Loading time  In this approach, we use high-resolution graphics, so that for small devices like mobile, loading time is also high. Loading time is less than responsive design because designing separate websites for mobile and desktop devices.
Content presentation  All information is loaded on all devices. In mobile devices, only necessary information is displayed.
Example  Geeksforgeeks, sun magazine, site point. Facebook, Instagram.
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Last Updated : 28 Nov, 2022
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