Which Is Better For Your Business: Mobile-First Or Responsive?

By Nikiwe Phala
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What is the best way to make your website mobile friendly?

Did you know approximately 80% of users used mobile devices to search the internet in 2019 according to statistics, and 40% of online transactions are done using a mobile device?

Today, smartphones are used more often than desktop PCs.We check our mobile phone, on average,150 times a day!

If it is the matter of bringing your online presence to light; there are arrays of things to consider. Developing an online presence is not only about creating a basic website for your services, brands, products, or offerings. The highest number of websites have experienced success through online marketing mainstreaming the right SEO techniques and appropriately nurturing it with the right elements.

Every business is looking to generate more leads and enhance customer engagement or wants to amplify the mobile experience. What does this mean for your business? How can you turn it to your advantage? Here is our comprehensive guide to the benefits and best practices for building a mobile-first business.

Let’s analyse this from the perspective of a website design company.

Mobile-First Design vs Responsive Web Design

For users to visit your website time and time again and comprehend the information on your website, it should be user and mobile-friendly. However, being able to make your website fit every screen size and type is a challenge. If the website is messy on a smartphone screen or if it is difficult to perceive information, consumer experience ends up becoming unsatisfactory.

There are two ways of making your website mobile-friendly and providing a better experience to small screen users.

Mobile-first design

Mobile-first design is specially developed for mobile users. The term is used to denote a design approach where you start with the smallest screen resolutions, designing mobile experiences first, and work your way up to complement larger screens.

This is designed separately from the original desktop website with a different URL.

Today even leading global tech companies, including Google and Facebook, switched to a mobile-first model several years ago as an essential part of their digital transformation initiatives.

The features on mobile and the main site may differ. For instance, a traditional website generally hosts a lot of information and many pages, it is accessed either from home or the workplace. Whilst, mobile websites for the most part are accessed on a smartphone or a tablet on the go, walking down the street, shopping, eating out, etc.

Pros

1. Improves the experience for mobile users.

2. Boosts the use of built-in features of the phone.

3. Cost-effective solution when compared to iOS, hybrid, or Android apps.

4. Fast loading speed for mobile users.

5. Increases local search results for your website.

Cons

1. Mobile design is not suitable for heavy websites.

2. A single design may not be compatible with various mobile devices.

3. Separate URLs can create confusion for users as well as increase the need for SEO.

4. Maintenance will be increased with two distinct websites.

Responsive web design

Responsive websites are designed and developed in a way to adjust to varying screen sizes. The same information is sent by the server to every device an approach to web design aimed at allowing desktop webpages to be viewed in response to the size of the screen or web browser one is viewing with. It means to offer the same support to a variety of devices for a single website.

The URL, content, and the look and feel of the website remains the same across various screens, which provides a consistent theme for users. Whether a user visits the website from a laptop, phone, or tablet, the overall CTA and content placement will be similar and more relevant.

Pros

1. SEO search results are improved. The main site traffic will be directed to a mobile device and vice versa. It allows you to collect all social sharing links through a single URL address (if you are the site owner).

2. Maintenance efforts are reduced with fewer things to manage.

3. Cost-effective as there is only one website, saving design and development costs.

4. Marketing tasks are reduced and experience is enhanced.

5. A convenient option for websites with complex CTA and bulky forms.

Cons

  1. The mobile experience can’t be 100% optimised with a responsive website.

4. Slow down the loading. It will take longer to load for some responsive. For instance, the images on a responsive site are just visually scaled down and not re-sized for the fastest load times.

Which One Should You Choose? Mobile-First or Responsive

The decision depends on your traffic, budget, and type of experience you are willing to provide to your users. Often, websites are created under the assumption that visitors will browse the website on the desktop computer. Later, the website undergoes modifications to allow it to be browsed on different devices like smartphones and tablets.

If your users mostly prefer mobiles, then choose mobile-first for a personalised experience. If most of your users are desktop users, then try responsive.

How should you start working on this?

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