Mobile Websites vs Responsive Design: What’s the right solution for you?
Most websites now have to be mobile friendly. Mobile search traffic has increased five-fold in the past few years and with Apple and Google pumping billions into iOS and Android respectively, then more and more of the web will continue to be mobile. In ten years time, we will wonder why anyone sat at a desk in front of a screen... in fact we are currently wondering why some of us do this. The web is mobile!
There are two main options to "GO MO".
There is 'Responsive Web Design', which means that coded into your website is the ability for the design to respond to the screen size of the users device, say an iPad, iPhone or laptop. Looking at a website in iPad portrait mode will be different than looking at it in landscape mode. Columns shift and images re-size. There will, usually, be no difference in the content from the full screen desktop version of the site compared to the mobile/tablet version. This leads to responsives main disadvantage: Loading times and data. Because your device has to load all the images that would be on your desktop site, it can take time to load the page, especially if your device is connected to a slow network. Although networks are definitely getting faster and 4G will be upon us soon! And the data allowance can be high for some users on limited data plans.
Then there is a mobile site. A mobile site is a dedicated site that works on mobile. It is usually run from a sub-domain such as m.yourdomain.com or mob.yourdomain.com. Using a mobile site means you can have dedicated mobile-only content, smaller images etc. you can leave out more complicated web apps etc. and deliver exactly what your user needs on their mobile device. This makes for faster loading times, and a clearer purpose for your website on a mobile device.
Having a dedicated mobile website can allow to really think about why your user may be going to your site on a mobile. Is your user out and about? Do they need directions to your premises? Do they need you phone number? Do they need some quick info?
Thinking about these questions will allow us to design a mobile website that is specifically tailored to your customers.