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Responsive Design v. Mobile Website: What’s The Difference?

Mobile website_responsive designShould you have a mobile website or a responsive website?

This is a debate among website developers, SEO companies, and business owners alike. As a decision maker within your company, how do you determine which is the best platform for your business?

What is the difference between the two platforms?

A mobile site is a replica of your website, optimized to be viewed on smaller screens such as phones and tablets. In this instance, the server does the work to deliver a page that is smaller, easier to navigate, and loads quickly. It is important to point out that having a dedicated mobile app created for your website is not the same as having a website that is optimized for mobile.

With responsive design, the website has been coded to recognize what is accessing it, and automatically adjusts according to a device’s screen size and orientation. After the device is identified (phone, desktop, etc.) the best version of the site for that particular device is rendered. Well-designed responsive sites will deliver the same comfort and usability to the mobile user as the desktop user.

Important considerations you should know about mobile sites and responsive design: 

Domain Identification

A mobile site has a separate domain from your main site: m.domain.com which identifies it as mobile only.  Changes made to a website need to be made on both the standard site as well as the mobile site. It is more costly to have a developer maintain both sites, and – if you’re not very careful – can cause for a disjointed user experience.

With responsive design you have just one URL for your website.  Any changes made to the site rollout through desktop and mobile simultaneously.

Search Engines Favor Responsive Design

Statistics report that 65% of website traffic comes from Google, which makes their opinion crucial in your decision to create a responsive website. Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on separate mobile sites.

User Experience

Responsive design allows for a cohesive user experience; one website that looks equally awesome on all types of devices. A website optimized for mobile will, in most cases, sacrifice content for usability. A desktop user and a mobile user probably won’t consume the same content, and it’d certainly be delivered in two very different ways. In this case, a website designed specifically for mobile will deliver a better experience to the mobile user. However, if someone were to share you mobile site with someone using a desktop, his or her experience would be rather poor. While mobile sites look awesome on mobile, they do not have the ability (like responsive websites) to look awesome on any other platform.

Looking for More Information on Responsive Design or Mobile Websites?

Call 866-820-8910 today and speak to one of our Project Managers regarding your website needs.  Our design team will collaborate with you to create a visually appealing Digital Storefront designed to attract and convert potential clients for your business.

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