Mobile Website Strategies

Mobile Website Strategies


Mobile Website Strategies

05.07.2013


In a time when the number of the different portable internet devices is continually increasing, every company wants to have a mobile interface for their website. In the early ages of mobile web usage developers had to create a whole new website with less content for mobile devices and write a script which enabled device detection for the server. But now we have the smart phones with fast internet connections, wide-touch screens and a vast choice of operating systems. Browsing web pages on mobiles is easier now, which gives more opportunities for those who want to build a website.

New programming strategies have been developed in the last few years which have given us the opportunity to create only one website which can be used on all devices. This is Responsive Web Design; no server-side detection is needed because the client-side does all of the work. The website is built to respond to the environment in which it is used: image sizes, resolution and structure change automatically if viewed on a smartphone, tablet or desktop screen. Having a mobile website is today much easier and cheaper; only the main website needs to be developed, and this can be used with all devices. Furthermore, this ensures that only one CMS (Content Management System) is needed, so if you want to update something on your website, you only have to edit it once.

So, should we forget the old method?

The server-side and client-side solutions have their differences. The first is more complex and expensive to apply, but the second has limited opportunities. A responsive site cannot give the same user experience as a website specifically designed for smartphones. Also, loading responsive sites on weaker smart phones or those with a low bandwidth connection can take time, which can ruin user experience. If someone opts for a responsive website they have to change their existing site completely, and the planning and development time can increase drastically.

Each method has its own drawbacks and benefits, which makes it hard to choose between them. The good news is that the two technologies are not exclusive and can work together, if necessary. Companies can create different mobile versions for smart phones, tablets and desktop computers and give all of them a responsive design. This is a long and expensive process, but if the site’s usability on all devices is essential, it can be highly beneficial.

There is no ultimate solution

How the website – and the mobile version - should be created always depends on the company which is creating it. Describing the goals and the target audience should always be the first step of the development process, so the features of the website can be adjusted suit these requirements. Sometimes user-friendliness is crucial, so developing a mobile version is advisable; in other cases, sparing money or the simplicity of the content seems to be priority, and then the responsive design will suffice. The ultimate solution is always what gives the highest return on investment.

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