The usage of mobile devices has, over the past couple of years, overtaken conventional desktop and/or laptop use in accessing the Internet, owing to a variety of reasons including convenience, reduced cost, improved technology etc.
First, there is the obvious convenience that mobile offers – the devices are portable allowing users to use them on-the-go to access their data at any time of day, and from any location. Other than that, there are factors such as the significant reduction of cost of mobile devices in recent years, as well as improvements in mobile technology, which has enabled users to enjoy an experience almost similar to that of using a desktop/laptop.
Website Design – The Need For A Mobile Site
When designing your website, it would be foolhardy to ignore the impact of mobile devices in the computing arena. If anything, you should expect to have more mobile traffic on your site since more users are moving to tablets and smartphones. Unfortunately, opening your regular website on a mobile device won’t give your users a satisfactory experience since some of the elements on the website were designed to be viewed on bigger screens, and at higher resolutions. On the other hand, the graphics and scripting on the website are designed to be processed by computers with higher hardware specs.
A mobile website is a scaled-down version of your regular website, created with mobile device users in mind. These sites are designed to work with devices with smaller screens and relatively lower resolutions and/or hardware specs.
Mobile Websites vs. Responsive/Adaptive Websites
Granted, creating a mobile site solves some of the pressing challenges faced by mobile users when accessing regular websites on their devices. However, with the wide variety of smartphones and tablets (all with different hardware specs, screen sizes, and resolutions) available, it is impractical for website owners to fashion mobile sites that can adapt to all these devices hardware specs, screen sizes and resolutions. A responsive/adaptive web design is a much better option.
Advantages of a Responsive Website Design
1. One Website For All Your Devices
For many years, website owners had to pay for website design, and then shoulder the burden of maintaining more than one website – their regular website and the mobile site. The regular website was designed for desktop and laptop computer users, whereas the mobile site was intended for users with handheld devices. Overtime, the number of internet-enabled handheld devices has significantly grown to include smartphones and tablets of different screen sizes, specs, and resolutions. For this reason, it would be very hectic to redesign your website graphics and/or rework the content and layouts to work seamlessly with each of the different devices. An adaptive website addresses this challenge. It is your regular website only that it is mobile ready – it automatically adapts to the different mobile devices.
2. Good For SEO
Leading search engines such as Google have a preference for adaptive website designs over mobile sites. As such, a responsive website design enhances your search engine optimization efforts, making it much easier for users to find you.
3. Enhanced User Experience
A responsive website design makes it easy and enjoyable for internet users to find and funnel through your website, owing to the easy to read text, optimized graphics and forms, as well as layouts. After all, users do not have to worry about the kind of device they are using to visit your – their experience is optimized for all devices.