Mobile First or Web App First

Hi. I have a project whereby there will be a desktop web app version and a mobile app version.
Both will be accessing the same database.
In short, should I start designing with the mobile version or the web app (PWA) version first?

I will assume that the web app version will be showing more details. And pretty much a different interface.


In general I would give the following guidelines:

  1. Use a lot of Containers to hold different parts of your content, as then you can easily move/style the content to different widths/layouts. Try to design your UI in this way.
  2. Use conditional styling to set different widths or show/hide different components for what you want from your UI
1 Like

Thank you for your tips. I guess what you mean is that it does not matter if you start with web app or mobile, as long as your use the guidelines you suggested, there will be no issues,

@William_W ,

I started last summer with a “mobile first” mentality, but I started again from scratch in November with a “web app first” mentality.

  1. Users can start interacting (=getting value) without having to download an app. That removes a huge barrier to entry.

  2. In the early days, you are going to have tons of bug fixes to push. If they’re on native, you don’t know whether they will download the updates. But if they’re on a web app, everyone gets the fixes instantaneously.

I created a template for my pages that limited the content to max 600px with a background image. That way, I only needed a single layout for both desktop and mobile. It’s not the most customized and I’ll definitely make it prettier in the future, but this is the fastest way to get the product developed.


@Erin_Wagner interesting tip and thanks for sharing your app! I agree with your 2nd point on getting a web app out first. I guess i will do that