Is mobile-first, desktop-first, or element-first best for credit union web design?

For the past few years, the debate on the Internet has raged on. Which is superior: “mobile-first” design or “desktop-first” design. In the last few years, “element-first” design has also stepped forth as a contender. At first it seems like a clear-cut issue: which option will bring the best overall results? But the reality is far more nuanced. In this post, we’ll discuss the differences between the three approaches, and then dive into what we believe is the true solution for credit union web design.

Desktop-First Design

What is desktop-first design?

Desktop-first is the way all credit union websites were designed in the primitive era—the era when smartphones and tablets didn’t exist. Gasp! When mobile devices finally rolled onto the scene, the typical approach was to design a desktop version of a website, then reduce its elements and content when being rendered for mobile. This process is best known as graceful degradation: starting with all the bells and whistles, and then getting rid of some of them as you make concessions for different devices and browsers.


A potential advantage of desktop-first design is the brainstorming phase. If you don’t feel limited in your approach from the start, then you may be more creative. You might find a new way of looking at your site or customer base that you could have missed during mobile-only.

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