In 2015 the internet went wild for mobile website design, with Google launching an industry-wide crusade to get everyone mobile-friendly after a search algorithm update. Most businesses consider mobile-friendly as all encompassing. This isn’t quite the case – mobile users encounter one of a number of sites. These are:
- Mobile-dedicated sites
- Web apps
- Responsive design sites
- Full desktop sites
To get more complicated, there is also adaptive design and the need to consider mobile-dedicated and responsive sites. Which one will work best for your business? We’ve put together the current options available for you to consider as if you’re after, for instance, legal website design or school, college, or university web design, you have to consider what will suit your customers most.
1. Full Desktop Sites
First off, the old way of things! These sites aren’t designed for mobiles and can’t adapt to the required device. As a result, content can become distorted or small.
Above everything else, a visiting customer is not going to be happy with this. Industry figures show over 70% of customers now expect a site to be mobile-friendly, so it’s time to choose an option.
2. Mobile-Dedicated Sites
The name gives it away – these are sites designed for mobile phones. This may mean they have a separate URL to a full website. They act as a way for businesses to include content which is particularly well suited for mobile.
3. Web Apps
These aren’t your typical app. They’re websites which masquerade as an app, but they can be every bit as fun as mobile apps and may suit your target audience perfectly.
4. Responsive Design
This development technique detects the type of device a user is on and adjusts the layout of a webpage to ideally fit the device.
5. Adaptive Web Design
Finally, this takes responsive web design one step further. It’s an advanced form of responsive which detects the abilities of a user device and only sends data which can be displayed on a device. This helps to keep loading speeds optimal.
Which is the Best for Your Business?
With mobile-friendly design being extremely important in 2016 onwards (consumers will soon spend the majority of their time shopping via their phones), this is a pertinent question! It’s a key trend in web design and development and it’s one we’ve worked hard at to perfect over the last few years.
Simply put, each approach offers advantages and disadvantages. For instance, mobile-dedicated sites can often exclude key content and website functionality which some of your users may enjoy. The result? Unhappy customers.
Responsive design gets around this by achieving uniformity across content and features. However, responsive websites still have to remove some features, but this tends to be content or functionality which isn’t essential for mobile users to see. Mobile-friendly web design is essentially about finding a compromise – but what do you have to consider to find the best solution?
Advantages & Disadvantages of Responsive & Mobile Web Design
- Responsive sites support a variety of devices and screen sizes in one implementation. However, they can have slower loading speeds than mobile-dedicated.
- Mobile-dedicated sites force companies to build separate sites across devices. This can cut out key information and alienate some users.
- Responsive sites save a lot of content and features which may be lost on a mobile dedicated site. However, there isn’t 100% functionality and, again, loading speeds may be poor.
- Mobile dedicated sites can be a great deal cheaper than constructing a responsive site. They also cut down on the complexity of on page content, which is what mobile users often desire on small screens.
Which Design Suits You?
It must be remembered your average mobile user isn’t wondering whether your business has gone for a responsive design or is sticking to mobile-dedicated. What matters is whether your business has maximised its mobile potential and provide the best possible user experience.
Choosing the right approach depends on your business, its model, and the user personas you’re used to. It’s vital you follow mobile-friendly principles to ensure your site delivers excellent results to customers, but you may wish to choose a responsive design for maximum exposure or a dedicated design for speedy and highly focused content.
What is known is more and more users are taking to their smartphones to shop for goods. You will want your business to be keyed into this mobile revolution, so carefully consider the best mobile web design route to take.