Mobile-first vs. Responsive design — what’s the difference?

Mobile-first is one of the many buzzwords in tech. It often gets confused with another buzzword: responsive design. Although the terms are related, it’s important to know the difference for the sake of communication.

  • Mobile-first: is a development/business strategy which means that web design for smartphones takes priority over bigger devices like desktop computers.
  • Responsive design: is a technical approach to building websites. Responsive means that our website’s layout will adapt to the screen of whatever device (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop) it’s viewed on.

In 2020 all websites should have a responsive website. Mobile-first has been a good general business strategy for years, both for SEO and UX. Since Google switched to mobile-first indexing in 2018 it’s now more important than ever.