Mobile Versus Responsive Design

Jun 10, 2014

mobile designBoth a mobile site and site based on responsive design involves you modifying your website to make it more appropriate for a smaller screen. Most web developers choose mobile websites to achieve faster load times and simpler navigation, and both of these options will achieve that goal. However, as you examine both approaches, there are some differences. Some are more advantageous than others. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these approaches.

What You Should Know About a Mobile Site

A mobile site is essentially a smaller copy of your website with faster load times and simple navigation. A mobile website is customized to provide a unique experience with few impediments. If cost is a concern, a mobile site may be the best solution.

With a mobile site, you are required to create a different domain name. Most companies will differentiate their mobile design by adding an ‘m’ at the beginning of the domain name; so, it reads like “m.domain.com.”

There are some downsides to creating a separate mobile site. Link equity is a major concern. Links shared from mobile browsers will not improve your ranking or link equity on your primary site. Thus, it’s not the most recommended option if search engine ranking is a major concern.

The other disadvantage of a mobile site design is that it could require more maintenance and thus, pose a greater financial investment for the company. If you need to remain current with next-generation phones and you’re not ready for responsive design, mobile site design is a good option.

A mobile site might also provide a better user experience since it’s designed specifically for a mobile. Before you make the decision to choose mobile or responsive web design, determine which one will have a better return on investment.

responsive design

What You Should Know About Responsive Design

With responsive design, you can design one website that will automatically adjust to fit the size of the device’s screen, whether it’s small or large. The options will switch automatically as long as the back-end code is put into place and works properly. This method is a better option for improving search engine ranking because your company’s link equity remains intact. This option also prepares companies for the future.

Responsive design does not allow web developers to use a different writing style or to alter any information architecture. With responsive design, it is often not adequate enough to resize images.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Both Design Methods

Responsive design is more economical way to design for mobile, but often, the mobile website provides a better user experience. It is in many ways more profitable to stick with a single site, which means responsive design would be the better choice. If money is not a concern, then a separate mobile site may offer greater usability. Keep in mind that for either type of design, short and simple writing is required, which means you may have to tailor your web posts for mobile devices.