Clients ask us all the time: “What type of mobile site should I have?” “Do I have to target Android and iOS devices differently?” “What if I can’t afford to have an app made?”
It’s understandable. Those are valid questions and are important to tackle. And mobile traffic is exploding. Take a look at Mary Meeker’s analysis on the explosion of mobile data traffic.
What this effectively means is that more people are accessing your companies’ website from a mobile device.
To help out with answering the earlier questions about what approach to take with a mobile website, let’s first take a look at the available options.
Mobile sites are the fastest, and least future proof, of your available options. It acts as a separate site that is typically found on an “m” subdomain of your website’s domain. Users who visit your website on mobile devices see this site by redirection.
- Gives customized mobile oriented information to users
- Creates two websites to manage and maintain
- Redirections are not guaranteed to work at all times
- Possibility of missing content between mobile and desktop sites
- Ruins SEO value
Responsive Web Design
Responsive Web Design is when a website changes how it is displayed based on the browser dimensions on the device currently viewing it. This is regarded as the most ideal and future proof solution to solving the dilemma of how to handle the rapidly increasing mobile browsing usage. Several years ago I co-wrote a book on Responsive Website Design.
- Target multiple devices all within one code base
- Utilizing adaptive approach doesn’t require full redesign
- Easy to update and maintain
- Users are near 100% guaranteed a great user experience
- When done properly, can be a time consuming process
So with options like a mobile dedicated website or responsive website, what’s the point in having a mobile app? Well it really depends on your users. For example, research shows that mobile apps result in more frequent e-commerce solution browsing and purchasing. In the retail business? You need a mobile app.
- Tailored experience for each mobile operating system
- Users can have access to information while offline
- Access to native notification system
- In some cases, could be viewed as overkill
- Most costly solution
- Requires ongoing maintenance
- If done wrong, will negatively impact the brand
In short, choosing the right mobile solution is a snap with the right planning. I frequently collaborate with my peers in Account Planning, Strategy and User Experience to research the right solution. Let me know what you think. Let’s start a discussion in the comments section about which mobile solution is the best route for you!