Most people are unsure of which option to take when optimizing their websites for smaller screens. The truth is that while both will make sure your website is available to people using devices with small screens, they have their pros and cons. Mobile website designs have been used for a while but responsive design is slowly taking over. This is because this new age design concept comes with a number of benefits that are not present in traditional designs. We will look at mobile website design vs. responsive web design to find the differences between the two.
As you manage your website, the design you choose will have a significant impact which is why you need to choose carefully. The best way to make an informed decision is to understand what mobile design has to offer and what responsive web designing has in store for you.
In mobile web design, the mobile website is simply a copy of your website. The server handles all the work where it delivers a website that can be viewed and navigated smoothly using a mobile device with a small screen. This option is a great deal when you are only targeting mobile phone users. It is also a cheap option especially if you consider a responsive redesign to be expensive.
Unlike the mobile web design where the server does the work, the device will do the work in responsive design. Your device will do the work through adjusting the website according to the screen size. The device automatically switches between portrait or landscape orientation. This is a good solution because it is flexible and can be used across devices ranging from desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
When running a mobile web design, you will need a different domain. In most cases, companies choose to use ‘m.domain.com’ to differentiate between the main and the mobile website. This can affect the domain by diluting it and compromising organic search traffic. With the two, you will have a harder time in management since you will be dealing with two different content silos.
With responsive design, you will keep the domain and nothing will be changed except the back-end code. According to Google, this is the best option because the website owner only gets to manage one site. The design also works positively towards the elimination of complex redirects and makes the sharing of web addresses simple.
A mobile search uses a separate domain. This means that the links shared from a mobile browser are not counted as search link equity towards the primary site. This is not good for search. On the other hand, responsive web design embeds new code on the web site’s back-end and this ensures that the company’s link equity is preserved. For search, this is a great option.
There are new mobile phones and related devices being manufactured every year. This means that you need to keep up with the new generation gadgets through reworking the mobile site. You cannot predict the type of gadgets that will hit the market tomorrow and this increases the maintenance cost.
Responsive web design is future ready. Once your website joins this concept, it will be ready for gadgets made next month and those made next year. This simply means that you will not need to keep reworking the site as the mobile phone generations change. The initial cost of responsive web design is high but you will get a good return on your investment since there will be no costly future reworks.
We cannot complete the mobile website design vs. responsive web design without talking about the actual design. Since the mobile site is created for mobile devices, it allows for creativity and exceptional design for the full website. The subsite is what acts like the responsive site.
Responsive web design is limited when it comes to creativity. The more complicated the website gets, the more complex the adjustment should be. If you plan to have a responsive design, you will need to sacrifice a number of features to ensure that the layout is not compromised when displayed on different screens.
In everything that you do to your website, user experience should be a priority. This is because though it is your website, you are making it for your target users. A mobile website is designed specifically for smartphones. This means it will load fast and display better. Designers working on the site will make sure they optimize it for mobile phones.
It might be a difficult task integrating some elements for desktops or mobiles phones and this means that you might have a website with limited abilities. Since the design will consider desktop users, the website might load slower on smaller devices. However, this design is a better solution since it will still work across devices.
When it comes to websites, speed is an important element. This is because most people will not wait for a website to load, they will just move on to the next site. Mobile web design has the advantage of fast loading if well coded. Speed matters for SEO and designers have to make sure that the site is not too big for mobile devices for faster loading speeds.
Responsive web design includes CSS media Query code and this slows down the site. There are many elements that are used for flexibility purposes and this is part of the slowing down of the site. Using this design concept is a great idea since businesses are shifting from a separate mobile website to the responsive design. This means that even your competitors will have sites that load with the same speed as yours. You will not have to worry about a thing.
Which is the Best Option?
If you are targeting mobile phone users alone, then you can go for a mobile web design that allows you to make changes. You will run two websites and this might be costly. If you would like a design that works across devices, responsive web design will work for you. You will, however, sacrifice some elements. It seems like the battle of mobile web design vs. responsive web design will go on as long as each option has advantages and disadvantages.