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Difference between Mobile and Responsive Website Design

by in Web Design on


As more and more people gravitate towards hand-held devices and access the Internet through their smartphones, tablets, desktop or even the laptops, companies can’t set the standard for screen sizes for consumers. PC sales have been registering sharp decline lately and almost every industry forecast indicates that the downward trend is likely to persist. Mobile phones and tablet devices have eaten into the market share of PCs, and are likely to overtake computers as the world’s most preferred web-access devices. Designing websites that respond to user experience on mobile phones is a necessity today, not a luxury!

Dedicated Mobile Website vs. Responsive Web Design

There are several ways to design a website that works well over the smaller screens of smartphones and tabs. For best results, it’s usually a toss-up between a dedicated mobile website and responsive website.

With a dedicated mobile website, you create a website specifically adapted for access and use on hand-held devices. Your mobile website has its own URL, with ‘mobile’ or ‘m’ as its sub-domain. When a user tries to access the website through their mobile device, they are redirected to your mobile website’s dedicated page.

Responsive Web Design is best defined as an approach to creating navigation and layout on websites so that they are able to dynamically adapt to varying devices and screen sizes, i.e. the web pages can resize themselves to fit the screen of the device being used to view them. A responsively created website is designed to function across device platforms. It has one URL and the same code drives the website. This allows for uniform viewing of content without any distortions.

There are advantages and drawbacks to both these methods of website design. Here’s a compilation of the pros and cons of having a dedicated mobile website and responsive website, so that you can decide which method to choose for your business:

Pros of dedicated websites: The biggest advantage of an exclusive website designed for mobile devices is that its content and graphics can be modeled according to the consumer’s device. It provides a tailor-made solution to meet the needs of your potential consumers.

Cons of dedicated websites: Creating an exclusive website to cater to mobile internet users means maintaining different websites for desktops and hand-held devices. Not only do you end up spending a huge amount of money on design and maintenance, you also have to constantly worry about consistency issues – whether your different websites have identical content or not.

Pros of responsive websites: User experience is of great importance in achieving higher search rankings. The amount of time that a user spends on your website before moving on to other web pages, directly impacts your search rankings. What’s more, it’s the quality of your content and ease of navigation that will keep the consumers coming back to your website. Responsive websites are less expensive, more versatile and above all provide the user consistent and quality viewing experience.

Cons of responsive websites: Slower rendering of content is the price you will have to pay for implementing responsive website solutions. However, the advances in internet technology have blunted this limitation to a great extent.