Mobile Websites are Dead. Long Live Mobile Websites.
By Vin DeCrescenzo
With web traffic from mobile devices set to surpass that from desktop computers in just a few years, how can mobile websites be dead? While mobile traffic will continue to increase, what’s coming to an end is the practice of building a separate mobile version of a site. New technology now allows us to create one website that will elegantly adapt itself for smart phones and tablets by using responsive website design.
Anyone who has tried to navigate a conventional website on their
smart phone knows how frustrating that can be. Most of them just aren’t “thumb friendly”. The solution until recently has been to build a separate mobile version of a site with a simpler design, less content and larger more finger friendly navigation. The site server would recognize when a visitor is coming from a mobile device and serve up a stripped down version of your website. Since the mobile site would have a different URL (often with an “m.” added to the beginning) mobile sites have sometimes been referred to “m dot” sites.
A responsive website will recognize the type of device you are on and adapt it’s size, scale and features accordingly. It can add, change or even delete features based on the capabilities of the device. This not only makes for an improved user experience but it eliminates the need to maintain and update multiple websites saving time for webmasters and marketers. You can also expect to lower your bounce rate and increase the time users spend on your site. The major search engines have made it clear that they prefer you maintain one URL, so responsive design is now the best practice for SEO as well. We’ve recently converted a website for one of our clients, a Dental Practice in Weston, Florida to a responsive design. We‘ve also built our own responsive site as well as one for a new client who sells Stone Crabs in Hollywood, Florida. Check them out on your laptop and then see how they look on your phone or tablet.
The initial development time for a responsive site is greater but that’s investment that’s should pay off over time. While it may or may not always be worth the effort of updating existing sites to make them responsive, if you’re developing a new website it’s most definitely the way to go.