Mobile Vs Responsive – Which is right for your business?

It is undeniable that both mobile sites and mobile responsive sites have a place in this world, but which solution will help you make the most of the ever rising volume of mobile traffic?

Did you know, mobile traffic was responsible for around 30% of all web traffic in 2012, a figure that is expected to rise to 50% in 2014*. What’s more, 40% of people admitted that they had abandoned a site before because it wasn’t easy to use on a mobile device**. With this increase in mobile devices being used for browsing, websites are constantly being downloaded on-the-go. In line with this, businesses that want their cut of the mobile market need to make sure that their websites offer a first rate experience for anyone accessing on a mobile device. This is achievable through the use of either a mobile site or a mobile responsive site.

Which is which?

A responsive site is capable of responding and adapting to devices with smaller screens. The HTML structure, content and images remain as they are on the desktop site but the elements on the page resize to fit on the smaller screen giving a better experience for mobile users. Mobile responsive sites use the same core code as the desktop website so are not capable of loading fast over 3G / data networks. Mobile responsive sites are generally a more cost effective option but can be limited in functionality.

A mobile site can be tailored specially for mobile users taking advantage of different templates, content and bespoke functionality optimised for mobile devices. Mobile sites are usually recommended for larger sites that have complex functionality that would other wise be difficult to replicate in a responsive site but do cost more. Mobile sites use code optimised for mobile devices so will load faster and generally provide a better experience.

So which is right for my business?

The first thing you need to do is to find out how much of the current traffic to your website is coming from mobil. This can help to inform how much you should invest in a mobile solution. Mobile responsive sites can usually be included as an extra option to your existing website and they generally suit companies working with a smaller budget who don’t need to have particularly bespoke functionality. However, for those with a significant portion of mobile web traffic, higher budgets, bespoke functionality and large amounts of content a mobile website would be the best solution. There is unarguably a place in the market for both mobile responsive sites and mobile sites. The key is to understand and segment your website traffic and work out which solution is a better fit for your customers.

Examples

We've worked with many clients who wanted to invest in a mobile solution. Here are two case studies which may help you to decide;

  • Mr Nutcase

Mr Nutcase have a website where customers can create and order personalised mobile phone cases. In order to better target their mobile web users, we also created them a mobile site. Their desktop site incorporated a wizard where users could select from different layouts and add text, clip-art and images. This incorporated a highly complicated journey for the user which wouldn’t of been possible on a mobile responsive site due to the different HTML structure. Having a mobile site enabled Mr Nutcase to incorporate a design wizard that was enabled perfectly for touch screens, and loaded fast despite the large amounts of content.

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  • De Pinna

De Pinna are a provider of notarial services and use their website to display all of their services to their customers and attract new business. We found that they were getting some mobile traffic to the site, but not enough to warrant investing in a dedicated mobile site. We created a mobile responsive site for De Pinna which allowed mobile users to have a better user experience when visiting the site. The mobile responsive site was able to load quickly as the site was not content-rich, and provided better navigation of the site than a desktop site viewed on a mobile device.

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If you would like some more advice about which mobile solution might be best for you then please get in touch to discuss your requirements!

*Nucleus Research via SourceCon

** Research via CareerBuilder