Since majority of online surfers are using mobile for browsing than desktop systems, it has become imperative for you to consider how your website looks on varied mobile displays.
If you're already running a website, perhaps most of the visits on your site will be coming from mobile users. You can use “Web Analytics” tools like eLogic, SiteMeter, etc. to see from where your website traffic is coming.
When it comes to designing a mobile-friendly website, you have two different options to choose from: one requires to create a responsive design and the other one requires building a separate mobile website. However, which one will help cure-all your business specific needs to expand its reach to mobile users can leave you befuddled and confused.
While some people suggest adopting a responsive design, a few others argue that developing a site specifically designed for mobile and desktop users will prove a better choice.
This post will talk about what is a responsive website design and mobile site. Additionally, we will discuss several factors to see which one of these options best fit your needs.
Understanding What is Responsive Website Design
A responsive website is coded in a manner that makes it adapt varied mobile displays. Put it simply, such kind of site adjusts the layout according to the device screen it is being accessed on. Have a look at below image, you'll see how a website with responsive design will look when viewed on a desktop, mobile and tablet device. You will see that the layout, typography and other website adjust to fit the device that is used for displaying the website.
For example, the “AWM” site when viewed on a desktop screen contains an image section on the left, which is shifted beneath the text in the mobile and tablet screen.
What Do We Mean by a Mobile Site?
A mobile (or mobile-only) site in contrast to a responsive design is nothing more than a unadorned version of the existing website (ideally the desktop-size website). It contains less content and design elements, and mainly emphasizes on providing information that will encourage the viewer to take some action.
The purpose of mobile-only site is that it help users review any status – let's say an order status – that they have already placed via main site. This enables users to view anything they want on the fly.
Responsive Website vs Mobile Website – Understanding the Difference
Let us now consider some major differences between building a responsive site and a mobile site. This will help you know which one proves a better option for you.
Content Accessibility: Responsive websites help users to easily switch from a desktop site to a mobile version of the site. Such a site shows all the content posted on the main site – when it is accessed on a mobile phone or a tablet. And so, irrespective whether users access a mobile version or a desktop version of your website, they'll come to know everything you're offering or want them to know. This means you need to pay attention to writing and posting quality content.
A mobile site, on the other hand, only shows the content that is needed to compel users to perform some action. And so, it features a simplified design that doesn't contain all the pages and content displayed on your main site. Therefore, users might not get complete information they need when accessing the mobile-only website, and will have to access the main one to obtain required data.
ROI (Return on Investment): As we had discussed in the above point, a responsive design mainly requires you to concentrate on the content part. One problem you might face when creating a responsive site is the cost. You will need to invest more in building a responsive site than a separate mobile site. This is because, it needs to interact with several devices using different operating systems. Moreover, you'll also have to work in customizing the navigation menu so that it can fit properly on various devices.
In contrary, creating a mobile-only site will cost you relatively less, as you only need to build a single mobile design that with consistent look and feel. However, such kind of site can cost you more in the long run. That's because, you'll have to maintain and update multitudes of code.
We’ve tried to cover major differences between responsive websites and mobile-only websites. But, choosing the best one requires you to analyze your business requirements. Make sure to understand your business goals and what your target audience wants, and then make the decision accordingly.
Rick Brown is a skilled iOS developer for Mobiers Ltd – a reputable mobile app development agency. You can get the best assistance with him in case, you are willing to explore more about the related services or development tips and tricks.
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