The battle between the fans of either mobile websites or responsive design has been going on for a few years now. Preferences and ideology aside, which option is better? What are the advantages of one type of design over the other? To answer this question let’s take a look at the main features offered by responsive design in comparison to mobile websites.
The key differences
Mobile websites are copies of the desktop websites, but smaller and easier to navigate for the user. Mobile websites can be created separately for each type of mobile devices and you do not need to redesign your desktop website to have a functional mobile website. The biggest downside of mobile websites are the problems with loading some elements of your design, such as images and the website layout. In result, mobile websites are often stripped of visual content or take much more time to load. Responsive design was created to solve these problems: it allows you to adjust the website design on the go, taking into consideration the requirements of different mobile platforms and desktop computers. The website layout and content is adjusted according to the screen size of the device and orientation of the website. The downside: to have a responsive design website you will need to redesign your desktop website, which can require more time and funds.
The website domain
Mobile websites require separate mobile domains, most companies solve this problem by adding “m.” in front of their domain name. But it creates more problems than it solves: search engine optimization becomes more difficult, since you have two or more domains you want to increase the traffic to, instead of one. Content management takes more time and effort, because you need to regularly update two or more websites separately. When it comes to the website domain, responsive design is a clear win: one domain for all websites, easy content management and most importantly, the design is supported by Google – the company recommends the responsive design as a means of avoiding complicated redirects.
Linking and sharing
Unfortunately, the aforementioned problems with different domains also make it more difficult to share content through mobile websites. A mobile domain will not work as a link on a desktop platform and content sharing between mobile and desktop users can be confusing. There are no such problems with responsive design: the same domain for all your websites means that link equity is preserved and content sharing is not affected by the type of platform you are using to display the content.
To sum up, responsive design seems to have more advantages than mobile websites. It might take more time and resources to set up the responsive design website, but once you have it Magento website development is less costly and requires less time than maintaining each mobile website separately. Responsive design is better adjusted to the constantly changing mobile market – you do not need to do much to make sure that your website is displayed correctly on each of the new mobile devices on the market. Mobile websites – quite contrary, you need to constantly change and adjust the design of your website, if you want to be sure that it is displayed correctly on the new mobile platform.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.