Ok, this sounds like an article for techies only right? I mean after all, who cares about what the difference is between a Mobile Website and a Responsive Web Design right?
But the truth is, if you have a website or even if you don’t have a website but you run/manage a business, you really ought to know the difference. Here’s why… In today’s world, a majority of the cell users are now using Smartphones and almost all of them have internet access.
So if your website is not mobile-friendly and does not properly display the information as required by the users on their mobile devices, you automatically run the risk of your potential customers leaving your site in search for other mobile-friendly sites that can help them to search information quickly and view them easily.
With your marketing plan ready for 2014, you would obviously not run the risk of losing your customers. In addition, Google is always looking at how mobile-friendly your site is and can also penalize your website for not complying with the basic requirements. This is an SEO red-flag (more on SEO later).
The primary difference between mobile website and responsive web design (RWD):
A mobile website (MW) is separate website designed to provide the Smartphone users a unique and optimized web browsing experience separate from the desktop experience. On the other hand, a responsive web design (RWD) reformats the information on your existing website according to the size of the screen and the device that is being used to view your site.
The information is more fluid as the browsing window is adjusted to provide the user an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices. In other words, it makes your existing website fit and morph according to the size of your viewing device.
When is RWD a better option?
- When a site needs consistency across multiple devices, responsive framework is perfect
- If your site technically needs portrait and landscape layouts, it better to use RWD as they are fluid
- If SEO is a core component of your digital marketing strategy, mobile friendly website becomes an essential since 67 percent of users claim they use mobile instead of desktop to search information
- If you want your site to load faster with minimal interactive components, RWD is ideal if designed correctly.
When is MW a better option?
I have yet to find out (j/k).
- When a site is highly dependent on interactive components, a mobile site may be the better option.
- When a web needs complete redesigning, rebranding and repurposing, it is better to opt for mobile website
- When you want to streamline content and avoid additional code to reposition excess elements mobile site works perfectly.
IMHO (in my humble opinion (***that’s so you learn another new acronym today***), choosing a responsive design over a mobile site always give a better “Return on Investment” and provides an easy way to update your mobile-friendly site without the need for updating two sites.
But the bottom line is, whatever you have or decide to go with, you need to make sure that you (or your designers) are designing for mobile first and engage your customers to search your business no matter what kind of device they use to find you.