Mobile Websites and Mobile Responsive Websites: What’s the Difference?

If you’re thinking of investing in a website for your business, you’re probably overwhelmed by the mobile lingo that is flying around. Mobile website, mobile responsive, mobile friendly…what does it all mean??

Mobile Friendly
Let’s start with “mobile friendly”. This is a broad term term that means a website will display on a mobile device (a smartphone or tablet) in a manner that allows for easy reading and navigation. A mobile friendly website could be both a true “mobile website” or a “mobile responsive” website.

Mobile Website
A true “mobile website” is a website that is developed entirely for mobile devices. When a mobile device tries to access a given website, there is a little piece of code that redirects the device to the mobile version of the site. So, for the business owner, there are two development processes–the traditional website to be served up to computer users, and the mobile website that will be served up to smartphone and tablet users.

Responsive Website
On the other hand a “mobile responsive” website simply resizes itself based on what size screen is accessing it. So during the development process, only one site is designed. This is often a more cost effective option than developing a true mobile website. The one drawback of this option is load time. Mobile websites load up on the screen quickly. Responsive websites can take a little longer since they take large images, meant for a computer screen, and crunch them down to display on a phone. However, the expanded broadband and wifi availability is quickly neutralizing this issue. Not such a big deal these days.

So which way do you go? Mobile or responsive? For most clients, a responsive website is the way to go, particularly if you’re designing or redesigning your website from scratch. If you already have a great traditional website and are not interested in a redesign, a dedicated mobile website might be the right answer for you.

Each situation is a little different, and we’d love to help you sort through your project to see what will work for you. Contact us today!

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