Responsive Web Site Or Mobile Web Site – Which Is Best?

The shift has been made for businesses to go online but the pursuit of the most user-friendly website is by no means over. As larger numbers of consumers turn to their mobile devices to browse e-commerce sites, it has fallen to businesses to create an environment which is both functional and aesthetically pleasing across different device platforms.
Not long ago, people browsing the web on their mobiles would have been viewing pages that had been optimised for use with a desktop or laptop computer. The result was endless scrolling and poor visibility. As the trend for mobile browsing became a larger phenomenon, the web adapted to meet the needs of an ever growing consumer base who were interacting with sites through mobile devices and tablet computers.

Today, the debate about how best to reach out to your customers online often comes down to this: responsive web site design or a dedicated mobile web page?
A responsive design results in one web page for all devices – the difference being that the page itself will change depending on the device on which it is being viewed. The alternative option is to build a separate page for mobile visitors which is specifically designed and optimised for browsing on a mobile device. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks this can have for those who want to know how to build a website.
Responsive Design
Responsive design allows your web page to reformat itself to suit the visitors’ needs. The real brilliance of creating a responsive web page is the ease with which updates to the page can be made. No matter what sort of device a visitor is using to view your site, they will all be accessing the same site and the same piece of code. This is not the case with a dedicated mobile site.
In the early days of mobile browsing, the devices which we used to access the web did not have the same capabilities as today’s devices. This meant that those businesses who wanted visitors to get the most from their experience were forced to create a dedicated mobile web site which anticipated the simplicity of the device. Nowadays, this is not the case as many devices are able to handle all varieties of script, including the very latest HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
The greater capabilities of mobile devices and the increased speed of connections mean that businesses can still create advanced and interesting web pages without having to make a distinct mobile page. The main drawback to responsive design is that, while you can make your page easy to use across a variety of devices, you can’t optimise it specifically for a mobile device. The ease of centralising your web site design is invaluable but a responsive web page will never quite meet the standards of a dedicated mobile site.
Mobile Web Site
As we’ve seen, dedicated mobile sites provide superior browsing for users with mobile devices. Businesses can tailor the experience to mobile viewing and can address specific problems which might arise when using a small screen. The layout of the page can be entirely different to that of your main page, as can the theme. Simply put, if what you’re after is a great web page for every visitor, a dedicated mobile site is for you.
The downside to mobile web pages is the maintenance. Whereas changes to a responsive site will be implemented for all visitors, most aspects of a mobile page must be managed separately to your main site. This will inevitably result in a greater expenditure of both time and money.
Whether the investment of time and money will pay off is dependent on the sort of web page you are running. If mobile visitors are accessing for small snippets of information, it is likely that a responsive design will suffice. However, if your mobile visitors will be spending more time on the site and interacting with various features, the argument for investment becomes stronger.
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