Responsive design, mobile first, progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, screen agnostic – what does it all mean?


You have probably heard of the “mobile first” design revolution. It is the philosophy that the website design process should start with the mobile screen in mind and then progressively add enhancements for larger screen viewing. According to Code My Views, “One of the major catalysts for the rise of mobile first web design was the announcement from Eric Schmidt in 2010 that Google was going to be taking this approach from now on, going so far as to say ‘I think it’s now the joint project of all of us to make mobile the answer to pretty much everything.”

The rapid rate of consumer adoption and adaptation of mobile devices is pushing businesses and designers to rethink their website design strategy. The flashy websites of the past are giving way to content-centric and device-agnostic web design. Web engineers Sven Casteleyn, Gustavo Rossi, and Marco Winckler stated, “Given the increasing diversity of web-enabled devices, we believe that more content-centric and device-agnostic design are an integral part of the future of web engineering.”

In the video below, Olivier Rabenschlag, Group Creative Director at TBWA, discusses how he approaches creative projects with mobile top of mind and explains why he thinks it is an important strategy.

Did you know that 90 percent of media consumption occurs in front of a screen? Marketers need to understand that consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile phones as their first online search tool.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.56.57 PMSo the $1 million question is – are you designing mobile first?



One thought on “Responsive design, mobile first, progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, screen agnostic – what does it all mean?

  1. Hi Brenna,

    As a designer, I couldn’t agree more with the idea of designing for mobile. If businesses are to keep up with demand, they must hire and work with designers and developers that understand the value in a mobile website. If a website is not optimized to handle mobile traffic, chances are the website may see a much higher bounce rate. In fact, SEO and Google’s algorithms are a reflection of the sites authority, which is directly related to a user’s experience. In this case, businesses that aren’t optimized are losing customers and money by not placing emphasis on a responsive website. With SEO ranking placing a much higher value on optimized websites, it’s only a matter of time before businesses (large and small) join-in on the mobile revolution.

    Great post,


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