Did you know that global websites are getting more traffic from tablets than from smartphones (8% to 7% respectively)? There is a continuing trend where businesses are integrating a website that is compatible with smart devices. In order to maintain relevancy to current and new markets, it is imperative to make your website easily accessible on the go, at any location, to any portable device.
The question boils down to, should you design a mobile site or invest in responsive design and what really is the difference between the two? The decision to create a mobile site or a website with responsive design boils down to your (1) preferences and (2) budget.
What is the difference between a mobile site and a responsive design?
Mobile site: the server provides an optimized page that is smaller and effortless to navigate. This includes a more mobile-friendly and simpler design, converting a larger design to fit the smaller mobile screen size.
Responsive design: the device provides an automatic adjustment to fit the screen, accounting for both the size of the screen and the orientation-whether it is in landscape or portrait mode. This includes the entire website as seen on any personal computer or tablet with no loss of original design.
Mobile site: a mobile site requires a different domain. For example: m.samsung.com.
Responsive design: the domain can remain the same.
Mobile site: The performance provides a better and more streamlined performance to users.
Responsive design: With responsive design, the company site is not reduced in any way. Because of this, there can be bandwidth issues when the website has larger media.
Mobile site: Because there are two separate websites (one for the original website version and then mobile), changes to one require a change to the other. There is no way to connect the two websites.
Responsive design: Because responsive design is linked to the original website, a change to one is reflected to the other.
Mobile sites have a higher cost than responsive design. While responsive design is definitely not cheap, it is a cheaper alternative than a mobile site. The development time is longer for mobile sites due to the construction of an additional website.