It can be a very humbling experience learning new technologies as they arise in this rapidly changing digital world. Striving to keep up to date and comply with current trends can be highly frustrating. Very recently, one’s only option to access your online presence was via a desktop or laptop computer. Website design and layout was somewhat standard and forthright, for there were very easy methods of dealing with different sized monitors. Screen resolutions seldom dropped below 1024×768. Today however, we are bombarded by a series of different devices, all capable of accessing the internet. You may often wonder, “What options are best for my clients? How can I make my online presence available to all users, regardless of what device they are on?”
Here at Strategic Edge Partners, we are constantly working to keep up with these new standards so that we can provide our clients with the best viewing options for their targeted audience no matter what device they are on. Today there have come to be two main design paradigms when dealing with mobile devices, namely, Mobile design and Responsive design. In this article we are going to work on breaking down the main differences between these two options as well as helping you decide what works best for your client base.
The Mobile type of design is typically created in addition to the desktop design and is delivered solely to mobile devices. You may have noticed that after navigating to a website on your phone or tablet, perhaps trying to access www.example.com, that you have been instead redirected to m.example.com or even mobi.example.com. This is done so usually because the mobile site is a completely separate design from the standard mobile view. The design ordinarily reflects the desktop version in a minimal fashion. Graphics may not be as frequent, thus resulting in quicker load times. Google recommends three essential elements for mobile design:
- Fast loading times (5 seconds or less).
- Mobile-friendly features such as larger buttons, easing searching functionality and the limited ability of scrolling and zooming.
- Quick and easy access to your business’ information such as contact details and product information.
At Strategic Edge Partners, our mobile design option differs slightly to benefit you as much as possible. Rather than living on a separate subdomain like previously mentioned, we use a mobile theme that is loaded rather than the desktop version. All the page content is literally the same as would be loaded on the desktop. This is beneficial in that users are not directed away from your default domain and also no SEO value is lost by displaying duplicate content. Fortunately, we take measures to guarantee that SEO validity is not hindered with our mobile design product. We also ensure that our mobile designs are highly reflective of their desktop counterparts and are concisely structured for an optimum user experience.
Responsive sites differ from Mobile in that they are essentially one site. Instead of using a separate theme, one central design is used that’s view changes dynamically based on the device. Elements like banners, logos and content rearrange themselves to fit into the confines of the device being used.
At first, this can be a rather strenuous concept to follow. A great example of this can be found at www.ineedasurgery.com. Try viewing this site on your desktop computer and then comparing on a mobile device. You will most certainly see that this is the same site, however, things have been organized in such a way so as to promote a better mobile experience. Another effortless way is to simply reduce the width of your browser window by clicking and dragging its corners. You will then see the responsive design in action as it jumps and resizes to conform to the browser’s width.
How Do I Choose?
With two great options, which one is best suited for your needs. A great way is to view the pros and cons of each archetype.
- Fast loading
- Easy navigation
- No restrictions are imposed upon the desktop version
- Our Mobile sites use the same content and therefore don’t harm SEO
- The design is often quite different than its mobile counterpart
- Does not always display information as clearly as intended
- Less control over the design
- Only one site, no separate themes needed
- No SEO value is lost
- Provides a consistent representation of the desktop view and your brand
- Potentially slower load times
- Sometimes restricts some functionality of the desktop view
In either case, both options are beneficial in enhancing your brand to meet the needs of mobile devices. Deciding which is best for your practice comes down to several factors, including itinerary, cost and your objective market. Contact us to learn more about these options and how we can develop these technologies to suit your needs and goals.