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Its time to be truly mobile friendly with responsive design

If there was an easier way for you to do something, wouldn’t you do it that way? Especially if the results were the same and the costs were less.

What I’m referring to is mobile friendly design.

For the user, mobile friendly websites cost less time and are as easy to navigate as the equivalent on a desktop, but far more convenient.

Since over 50% of internet searches are done on mobile devices you can assume that around the same percentage will be visitors to your website.

For some businesses it will be more and for others less.

Personally I think this is mostly down to websites updating their usability to a more mobile friendly approach along with the increasing mobile internet speeds.

So as it became less effort for people to use their mobile devices to browse… people started to browse on them more.

In the past, it might have only been worth while getting a mobile friendly website if you were a huge company with lots of traffic.

It would be their competitive edge which got them a few extra sales other smaller businesses couldn’t compete for.

But now the situation has flipped. Mobile devices are now used more than desktop. (on average)

Instead of an add-on to a desktop site, mobile friendly options should be the foundation on which the desktop site is added surely?

Well, for the most part, I would say yes and agree with myself.

The thing that is holding me back from fully agreeing is conversion rates.

Unfortunately mobile conversion rates still don’t match desktop. It could be that shoppers might be more likely to be ‘just browsing’ on mobile.

I can imagine myself seeing an advert I was interested in on TV and instead of getting up and sitting at the desktop computer (lots of effort) or getting up to find my laptop (still some effort) I would probably just reach into my pocket and get my smartphone out.


As for why I would then not go on to buy on my phone. That’s mainly down to mobile still being harder to checkout on.

If you think harder about it though, you might realise that because of the convenience mobiles give us, we are looking at products in situations we wouldn’t have had the choice to in the past.

On the train or bus, eating lunch at a café, during a break at work (not involving computers).

You wouldn’t expect to buy something every time you look though.

So it could be one of those or after seeing it on a website it didn’t quite tickle my fancy.

Still, that research could go towards a purchase and it’s research they are not likely to have done if you didn’t have a truly mobile friendly website.

Your customers will actually expect a mobile friendly website. Most of the websites they have visited this year will be mobile friendly and those which aren’t simply aren’t worth the extra time and effort.

One last point to really nail it in… Google rewards websites which are mobile responsive in its mobile search results. Not only do your visitors have worse experience but you won’t even get the same chances to show your website to the ever growing population of mobile shoppers.

What kind of mobile friendly?

Hopefully you are convinced that you need a mobile friendly website after all that.

If not, you know your business more than me… just keep it in mind if things change.

If so, let’s continue and figure out which kind of mobile friendly website would be best.

Yep that’s right there isn’t just one type. As with most things, there are at least two ways of doing things at the start.

Then comes a war which decides the victor.

This is the battle between Mobile friendly, Adaptive, Responsive and Experience design.

Mobile friendly refers to any website which loads on mobile devices. But it is displayed exactly as it is on desktops. Which to me rules it out as an option for providing a good experience on mobile.

Adaptive design involves creating several different layouts for several specific screen sizes. If a new screen size becomes available you’ll need to design a new layout for that one or risk visitors on some devices seeing a slightly broken version of your website. So you can end up with perfect layouts for some devices and miss matched layouts for others.

Responsive design is creating one layout which responds to the screen size. Meaning images and elements are resized and rearranged to suit screen size. For example, the top navigation bar on desktop might become an expandable burger menu button on mobile. So, even if a new screen size was invented after the website was designed it should still fit.

Experience design offers a separate website with a different URL (usually m.website.com). With this additional website comes additional maintenance and more loading as each attempt to visit the normal site on a mobile redirects your visitors. There is also the possibility that having two separate URLs could mean SEO problems too.

The winning design seems to be responsive. Other websites still use the other options but they are quickly becoming impractical because of the number of different sized devices being released each year.

Responsive may take the most work at the start, but maintenance is low and the results are good so until a better alternative rises up. Responsive is champion.

If there was an easier way for you to do something, wouldn’t you do it that way? Especially if the results were the same and the costs were less.

What I’m referring to is mobile friendly design.

For the user, mobile friendly websites cost less time and are as easy to navigate as the equivalent on a desktop, but far more convenient.

Since over 50% of internet searches are done on mobile devices you can assume that around the same percentage will be visitors to your website.

For some businesses it will be more and for others less.

Personally I think this is mostly down to websites updating their usability to a more mobile friendly approach along with the increasing mobile internet speeds.

So as it became less effort for people to use their mobile devices to browse… people started to browse on them more.

In the past it might have only been worth while getting a mobile friendly website if you were a huge company with lots of traffic.

It would be their competitive edge which got them a few extra sales other smaller businesses couldn’t compete for.

But now the situation has flipped. Mobile devices are now used more than desktop. (on average)

Instead of an add-on to a desktop site, mobile friendly options should be the foundation on which the desktop site is added surely?

Well for the most part I would say yes and agree with myself.

The thing that is holding me back from fully agreeing is conversion rates.

Unfortunately mobile conversion rates still don’t match desktop. It could be that shoppers might be more likely to be ‘just browsing’ on mobile.

I can imagine myself seeing an advert I was interested in on TV and instead of getting up and sitting at the desktop computer (lots of effort) or getting up to find my laptop (still some effort) I would probably just reach into my pocket and get my smartphone out.

As for why I would then not go on to buy on my phone. That’s mainly down to mobile still being harder to checkout on.

If you think harder about it though, you might realise that because of the convenience mobiles give us, we are looking at products in situations we wouldn’t have had the choice to in the past.

On the train or bus, eating lunch at a café, during a break at work (not involving computers).

You wouldn’t expect to buy something every time you look though.

So it could be one of those or after seeing it on a website it didn’t quite tickle my fancy.

What kind of mobile friendly?

Hopefully you are convinced that you need a mobile friendly website after all that.

If not, you know your business more than me… just keep it in mind if things change.

If so, let’s continue and figure out which kind of mobile friendly website would be best.

Yep that’s right there isn’t just one type. As with most things there are at least two ways of doing things at the start.

Then comes a war which decides the victor.

This is the battle between Mobile friendly, Adaptive, Responsive and Experience design.

Mobile friendly refers to any website which loads on mobile devices. But it is displayed exactly as it is on desktops. Which to me rules it out as an option for providing a good experience on mobile.

Adaptive design involves creating several different layouts for several specific screen sizes. If a new screen size becomes available you’ll need to design a new layout for that one or risk visitors on some devices seeing a slightly broken version of your website. So you can end up with perfect layouts for some devices and miss matched layouts for others.

Responsive design is creating one layout which responds to the screen size. Meaning images and elements are resized and rearranged to suit screen size. For example the top navigation bar on desktop might become an expandable burger menu button on mobile. So, even if a new screen size was invented after the website was designed it should still fit.

Experience design offers a separate website with a different Url (usually m.website.com). With this additional website comes additional maintenance and more loading as each attempt to visit the normal site on a mobile redirects your visitors. There is also the possibility that having two separate Urls could mean SEO problems too.

The winning design seems to be responsive. Other websites still use the other options but they are fast becoming impractical because of the number of different sized devices being released each year.

Responsive may take the most work at the start, but maintenance is low and the results are good so until a better alternative rises up. Responsive is champion.

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