Responsive Web Design or Dedicated Mobile Design?Mobile websites are very important nowadays. If you only have a traditional website, you also need a website that works well on mobile devices. Each of the two main types of mobile websites – dedicated mobile websites and responsive websites – have their own unique properties for all types of devices. So which option is the best one for your business?

Why Do I Have To Have A Mobile Website?

The two different options available for mobile web design differ in fundamental ways, but both work towards the same goal – to maximize your website’s conversion rate by providing a version of your website that works on the go. But first you must understand why mobile devices require their own versions of websites.

Mobile vs. Desktop

Mobile devices differ significantly from personal computers in many ways besides the smaller screen size. Mobile devices are typically less powerful than modern personal computers with significantly less processing power and memory. Mobile devices are also usually touch-based, while the majority of personal computer users still utilize a physical keyboard and mouse. Finally, not all web platforms and technologies are compatible with mobile devices – for instance, Apple’s iOS devices do not use Adobe Flash. Finally, screen size limitations on mobile phones can cause traditional websites to scale poorly, making text less readable.

Mobile App vs. Mobile Website

With a significant portion of web users now on mobile devices, it is crucial that your business provides a web experience optimized for mobile – even if you have a mobile app available for mobile devices! Although the vast majority of mobile devices use either iOS or Google’s Android, some users have devices that aren’t compatible with apps designed for those systems. Even if all of your users have iOS or Android devices, there is no guarantee that they will download an app. While there is nothing wrong with posting a notice on your website that a mobile app is available, you shouldn’t neglect those mobile users who are unwilling or unable to download and install your app.

Responsive Web Design

For most businesses, responsive web design is the superior option. A responsive website isn’t a desktop or mobile website – it’s both, and it will gracefully scale to automatically support a number of different devices. By maintaining one website as opposed to two, you can minimize the time, money and resources needed to maintain and update your website, and with a renewed focus on web standards and universal web technologies, responsive websites can provide a superior user experience across a multitude of devices, browsers and system configurations.

Dedicated Mobile Website

When is it best to create a dedicated mobile website? For some companies with very large and/or complex websites, responsive web design may not be a practical solution. If your website simply doesn’t scale well, or if your website that host specialized media such as large image files or multimedia that may not be specifically formatted for mobile, a dedicated mobile website may be required. Keep in mind that mobile devices often have memory constraints, so larger websites might actually crash a mobile web browser. Finally, it is important to remember that creating a responsive website will require a complete website overhaul, which may be unrealistic or unworkable. If you don’t have the time, money or resources to completely overhaul your existing website, creating a dedicated mobile website is an acceptable “stop-gap” solution until you’re ready to upgrade your entire site.