In the previous article of the Responsive strategy series, I've looked into what kind or responsive layout approaches are available for product or website, when would a fluid layout or adaptive layout or fixed layout be the best choice.


  1. Mobile first

A very focused approach that begins with designing for the main function and only then expand the functionalities for higher resolutions (often called progressive enhancement). It's a good choice if:

  • The number of mobile users is already 80% and above or 50%, but the sales are higher on mobile
  • The experience needs to be optimized for mobile and merely functional on desktop
  • The website/interface has only a few core features
  • The type of service/product is rather interactive (entertainment, life-style, networking, news etc.)


  1. Desktop first

This means designing for the highest specifications - the best achievable - and then going down to smaller resolutions (often called graceful degradation). It's a good choice if:

  • Visitor numbers and sales are higher on desktop
  • The website/interface is feature-rich, e.g. productivity, office or business tool
  • The experience needs to be highly refined on desktop and merely functional on mobile
  • The time and budget are limited, but patches are required for the existing product


  1. Element first

This approach is often referred as atomic design applied with a responsive mindset, and it enables the individual preparation of the interface elements so they behave responsively regardless of the layout. It's a good choice if:

  • The number of hits is close to equal on mobile and desktop or there are no initial user statistics
  • The website/interface is feature rich and complex and will expand gradually over time
  • Sufficient time and budget are available to build a future proof design system

With this Responsive strategy series, I've collected the main considerations around how to go about multi-device online presence. Knowing what factors to assess when preparing for a product or website development can save you from changing strategy afterwards, which is an extremely costly move.