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Ben Altieri4,645 Points
Mobile first is great. But what do you do if a customer doesn't understand it? Design mobile first anyway?
Say you have a customer that has a concise list of requirements for a desktop layout. Is it still ok to design for mobile first without the customer knowing until they need to know? Or do you simply refactor for mobile first when the time is right, as in when the customer asks for mobile responsive design AFTER they asked you to build the desktop design first as most customers tend to do (I'm not speaking from that much experience other than working as an in-house IT staffer who specializes in web operations - I've never seen a customer ask for mobile first.)
Joe Purdy23,237 Points
It really depends on your personal preference. Personally I educate my clients why designing from a mobile first perspective will ultimately benefit their business since majority of web users are shifting to using mobile devices as their primary internet browsing device. Majority of my clients come around after getting all the facts that they likely had no idea about. If they still insist on a plain old desktop layout without responsive design I simply build that for them, but inform them what my rates are for refactoring an unresponsive site so they can see how much it will cost down the road if they decide they need a mobile site after all. This is another eye opener where many clients will see the benefit in going mobile first from day one.
And in reality when I have one of those clients that absolutely insists on only needing a desktop layout I typically go ahead and make it responsive any ways so that when I present the completed project I can highlight the difference between the responsive version and a stripped down desktop only version. So far I've only had 3 clients take the cheaper desktop only layout and 2 of them came back to me within 6 months to request a refactor.
Allison Walker17,137 Points
Well, maybe you're aware of this already but design for mobile first and dev for mobile first, are two different things. In the video, Guil is talking about optimizing the CSS for mobile devices first, then building up for larger screens, because it's more efficient and the performance is better. I can't say I have heard of any client that cares about exactly how the dev is built.
Design for mobile, is making sure that if your client has asked for a responsive site or mobile-friendly site, that your design will work for all device sizes. If most of your target audience will be using smaller screens, it's really in your best interest as a designer to start with, or at least consider, mobile first so you don't spend extra time trying to retrofit a desktop design onto a mobile screen. (Of course, the caveat is if it's a closed system or product, where there will never be a mobile size, such as an intranet. Then it doesn't matter.)
As the designer, you should make sure your clients know the consequences of their decisions, so that they don't blame you later for not telling them. If you think that there will be a problem down the line, because a requirement isn't complete enough or they didn't consider mobile requirements, you should speak up as soon as possible. The requirement will not likely be "mobile-first" - or maybe you get a dream client! - but will mostly likely be for a responsive site, or a mobile-friendly site. "Mobile-first" is for you the designer or developer, not the client.
Having said all that, it's funny.... In my experience, most clients (and even project teams) don't want to see the mobile design, if there's a desktop version, even when they've asked for it. I guess maybe because it's harder to understand when making a decision about whether they like it or not.
Pavle Lucic10,801 Points
If the customer is a end-customer (the person who wants web app, or website), you can use what you want (mobil first, or last...). But if your customer is it company who hired you, then you must follow their requirements.