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Now I read lot of articles about mobile first design, and I understood that it's the way of design for the mobile first.

My question is, how do we know a website is designed with a mobile first -approach or not? And what are the benefits of mobile first compared to a responsive design?

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Really, you can't. Mobile First is a concious decision by the UX designers et al. when initially planning the project to ensure it will be as usable and provide as good a UX as possible on a Mobile as well as on desktop. If a site works well on all devices you look at it on then that might be a clue, but really it's like asking "How can you tell if a website was developed using Agile methodology"; you can't. –  JonW Mar 14 '13 at 10:47

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Firstly, mobile first and responsive don't present an either / or choice.

Mobile first is a methodology that you use to approach your design, where you constrain yourself to the limits of mobile. After working that out, it is much easier to modify that design for pc - usually with a better, more focused end product.

Responsive design is a behaviour whereby your layout changes depending on some properties of the device viewing it.

There is nothing stopping a design which was created with a mobile first methodology from being a responsive design at all. In fact I would often recommend that it is.

In terms of recognising a mobile first design, there is no clear way. It is just a methodology for designing that many people find helpful. Usually a mobile first design is more focused and clear on what it is achieving, but you get poor examples of mobile first and good examples of pc first design. A lot depends on the team designing it in the first place.

Mobile first comparison:

enter image description here

Responsive Design illustration:
enter image description here

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Excellent answer. But I would replace 'web first design' with 'large screen design' or 'pc design' or something more appropriate as mobile web is still the web :) –  Kayo Mar 14 '13 at 12:40
    
@Kayo good point. I'll change it. –  JohnGB Mar 14 '13 at 12:48
    
@JohnGB I found another article describes about my question. What do you think ? uie.com/articles/mobile_first_rwd –  Surjith SM Mar 22 '13 at 9:39
    
@SurjithSM Interesting article. –  JohnGB Mar 22 '13 at 11:59

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