10 Questions strategy for Mobile-First or Desktop-First decision

Vatsal Shah
4 min readMar 15, 2021
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

What’s Mobile First?

The mobile-first design aims to switch the workflow from tackling desktop designs and address mobile design.

It may mean different things for different SaaS companies. Should a SaaS business launch an app just because everyone else is?

Not at all. In fact, any company’s decision to roll out a mobile app vs. a desktop app should be based on the overall benefits that an app could bring to their business, especially when compared to a mobile-responsive site.

10 Questions to answer before deciding on a mobile-first or desktop-first application

1. Who’s your user?

There’re a couple of questions that may help you in the decision process.

Individuals vs. organizations? If you want to grow, what is important for you (as a company)? How many users really asked about an application via Email, Phone, Chat, and other communication media? Is it must have or nice to have to your users in your current state of a business?

2. Do you want quality users or quantity users?

You have to decide on what type of growth you wanted to see for your product. Is that social media type of application (B2C) or enterprise application (B2B)?

If you’re targeting quality users, are there any quality users who asked for an application on mobile or desktop (vice-versa)?

Grow with your customers

3. How many people visit your current application and how?

Data is the number one factor you should consider when undergoing a design project.

With no data backing their decision, the team created an app that lacked the key features present in their web offering.

If you are analyzing your site and see that mobile traffic is well under that of desktop, and the trend indicates that the gap isn’t closing, then there is no reason to consider a mobile-first approach.

4. What is your value metric?

What are you trying to sell, and what is more important for you to solve the primary problem? Do you really need a mobile app, or does your user use a browser-based desktop application?

This metric may help you decide to package your needs and features and find that it is necessary to have a mobile-first application?

For Example, (Check their pricing intelligence)

  1. Wistia: Video marketing software for business → No of videos or episodes
  2. Zapier: The easiest way to automate your work → No of zaps
  3. Statuspage: Communication tool for incident management process → No. of subscribers

Value metrics are the best way to optimize your pricing for growth and help make the right decisions during your product-market fit journey.

5. Do you need to access native features?

Does your application require native features such as Geo Locations, Gyroscope, Touch events, etc. If without native features, your users can’t access your application, then it is pretty straightforward to make a decision.

6. Is your product complex to use on mobile?

Is your product data drive, and you won't show a lot of reports? Ex. Google Analytics then you have to invest and design an optimized user interface to display all the data.

Otherwise, it’s an absolute nightmare to use a complex page like that on your phone.

7. Do you have a budget to invest in the development?

You have to design UI/UX first or prototype using any available tools and then real application development as the backend already build-in to handle from anywhere.

8. How often do you improve your application?

As in an early-stage company, you release a lot of changes frequently. Do you want to manage all three mediums or build a hybrid application to manage the same codebase across all mediums?.

Testing — Bug — Links — Native feature access

9. Do you have any competitors? Do they have an application?

If you want to compete with your competitor, do they have android and ios applications? How do you want to react to your market and your users? Can you make your customers happy and productive by releasing a mobile application?

10. Is it a blocker for a company and product to grow and find product-market fit?

For example, Clubhouse raised $100M based on a $1 billion post-money valuation, and they have an ios application only with X no. of users.

Join Clubhouse Home Page (2021–01–28)

So, there is never a blocker to find value in the market for your product. They even don’t have web applications or Android applications. There are Y android users, so do you think they missed these many users?

Well, it depends. As they raised money, they can invest in the development and release of android or web applications based on their user's requirements.

Many early-stage companies and entrepreneurs want to develop a mobile app or desktop app first, which may be a huge mistake in time and money investment. Your company and project are different from others.

Always keep your end-user in mind.

It may look great, but maybe these questions help you decide before developing a mobile app.


Vatsal Shah


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Vatsal Shah

Intrapreneur, Machine Learning | AI | Software Engineer | IoT | Voice Applications