In 2016, the number of people accessing the web via mobile phones surpassed those accessing it via desktop. For this reason, websites must be designed to suit this new trend. However, deciding between designing a responsive or a mobile-friendly website can be tough if one doesn’t know the difference.

In this article, we shall explore the differences between mobile-friendly and responsive website design. Let’s begin, shall we?

Mobile Friendly

Image Source: Unsplash

What Is Meant By A Mobile-Friendly Website?

A mobile-friendly website looks the same way regardless of the device used to gain access. The only feature that changes in a mobile-friendly website is the scale. All other features are a reproduction of the website.

Mobile-Friendly Website

Image Source: Unsplash

Features of Mobile-friendly Websites

The features of mobile-friendly websites include:

  • It features static content.
  • The texts are less complicated, and the images are smaller.
  • The website is not responsive to the differences in the operating system of the device used to access it.

What Does It Mean For A Website To Be Responsive?

Responsive websites communicate effectively with users. They are simple to use irrespective of the device used in accessing them. Websites with responsive design adapt to the appearance of web content based on the size of the screen used in accessing them.

Designing your website to be responsive means it will automatically adjust images, fonts, GIFs, and overall layout to match the screen size. With this dynamic content, boosting your website’s user experience becomes easy.

Features of a Responsive Website

  • It features a single column layout
  • Some of the texts are deleted to improve visibility.
  • They alternate smartly between large images for desktop users and smaller images for mobile users.
  • They possess white space borders and large graphics that adapt to the screen size of the device.
  • They feature simplified navigation and dynamic content.

Differences between Mobile Friendly and Responsive Website

  • Unlike responsive sites, mobile-friendly sites do not adjust based on user interaction or screen size.
  • Mobile-friendly websites work best with mobile phones. Essentially, they are copies of the original site; they only scale up features based on the screen size.
  • Responsive websites can adapt to screen sizes, even scrapping some features where necessary.

Which Should I Choose: A Mobile-Friendly Website or A Responsive Website?

Both mobile-friendly and responsive website designs have their advantages. The type of website design best suited for a business type depends on certain factors. Below are some of these factors.

  1. The Purpose Of The Website – the purpose of your website helps determine the functions expected of the website.
  2. The Device Used Most Commonly By The Target Audience – if less than 30% of your users access your site via mobile phones, then you may consider making your site mobile friendly.
  3. Website Content – if your website has more images and texts with no other complexity, then a mobile-friendly website would be a good option. If your site, however, features dynamic content, we advise that you go for a responsive design.

Mobile-Friendly Website

Image Source: Unsplash

Pros and Cons of Each Website Design Type

The pros and cons of these website designs include:

Mobile-Friendly Website

Mobile-friendly websites though outdated, still have a place in the technological world. These websites are best for businesses with less than 30% of mobile users.

Pros of Mobile Friendly Website

  • It is cheap and can be converted to a responsive website easily.
  • Works well for simple static websites

Cons

  • Poor user interface
  • It is hard to navigate.
  • It is prone to high bounce rates and, consequently, lower conversions.

Responsive Websites

We recommend getting a responsive website. While it costs more than the mobile-friendly website, it pays for the cost with its improved features. Let us look at some of the pros and cons of a responsive website.

Pros

  • It adapts to all screen sizes.
  • It provides an optimal website user experience.
  • It experiences a higher number of conversions.
  • It has a higher investment return rate.

 Cons

  • It is more expensive than mobile-friendly websites.

Why Are Responsive Websites Better than Mobile-Friendly Sites?

We recommend responsive websites for business owners because they pack so much more functionality. Some of the advantages responsive websites have over mobile-friendly sites include:

1. Adaptability – the key selling point of a responsive website is its ability to adapt beautifully to all screen sizes. Unlike mobile-friendly websites that merely scale up or downscale, responsive websites alter themselves to the correct size needed for the device. Users don’t have to pinch and zoom just to adjust the web content to fit their screen size.

2. Good User Experience – because of the improved adaptability, users have seamless interactions with the website regardless of their device type. Thus, users often spend more time than they planned surfing responsive sites.

3. Lower Cost of Maintenance – responsive websites is easy to maintain and less expensive. They hold data in a centralized location. Although the cost of setting up a responsive website is higher than that of a mobile-friendly website, the maintenance and management costs are much lower.

4. Enhanced Search Engine Optimization- Improving search engine optimization on a responsive website is a lot easier as it is the same across mobile and desktop devices. With strategically placed keywords, responsive sites can rank better in search engines.

Features Mobile-Friendly Websites Responsive Websites
Cost It is cheaper to set up More expensive
Use Better suited to sites with static content Works well for all sites even those with dynamic content
Functionality Works poorly with desktops Offers added functionality and usability with all devices
Bounce Rate High Low
Search Engine Optimization Poor Better
 Conversion Rate Low High
Adaptability to Devices Limited Unlimited
User Experience Poor Top-Notch
Ease and Cost of Maintenance High Low

How Do I Make My Website Responsive?

If you own a mobile-friendly website already, you can transition it to a responsive website quite easily. To achieve this transition, you need to do the following:

Learn How Users Interact with Your Site – you must first understand how people use your website on different devices. We advise that you do a survey of your website visitors or use analytic tools for this. Your survey should also take note of the web pages, and elements users access the most.

With this information, you can determine the pages and elements that should be optimized on smaller screens.

Pay Attention to The Layout – the key to a responsive website is the layout. Make sure it is designed to suit your needs and those of your users. Once the layout is done, you should check out how it looks and acts on different devices.

Optimize your Navigation – it would be best if you make the most important menu items visible on smaller screens also and use the hamburger menu for less important links. To aid navigation further, on your homepage, you can include links to other web pages.

Attach Keyboard Triggers – take it a step further by ensuring the input field can trigger the right keyboard. This way, input fields requiring text input (e.g., email, address, name) automatically trigger the textual keyboard. Similarly, fields requiring numbers will trigger the number keyboard seamlessly.

Optimize the Buttons – in a responsive website, the buttons must be easy to click and easily visible. To improve visibility, use a different color for the buttons.

How Can I Design My Website?

We advise that you contact a reputable website design firm for the design and management of your website. These firms have highly trained and experienced IT professionals on standby to help you design the best website to cater to your business’s needs.

What Are Their Services?

These firms offer various services geared at optimizing your website and helping you increase conversion. Let’s look at some of the services most reputable design firms offer.

  1. Website Design – these firms have highly trained website designers capable of converting your mobile-friendly website to an even better responsive one. Better yet, if what you desire is a redesign of your current website or web management, they may offer those services at affordable rates.
  2. The Amalgamation Of SEO And Marketing Strategies For E-Commerce – websites need a professional blend of SEO and marketing strategy to boost conversion rates. Website design teams analyze your needs and the needs of your customers and use the data obtained from the analyses to create effective E-commerce solutions.
  3. Web Content Creation – great website firms give you premium content guaranteed to earn you a spot at the top of Google searches. First, they analyze your site and find keywords relevant to it, then design great content with these keywords strategically placed.

Conclusion

Responsive and mobile-friendly websites have different features and strong points. While responsive websites may present varying contents based on screen size, mobile-friendly websites are merely replications of the original site. We advise businesses to opt for responsive designs because they pack so much more benefits.

GraceWeb Design
In 2016, the number of people accessing the web via mobile phones surpassed those accessing it via desktop. For this reason, websites must be designed to suit this new trend. However, deciding between designing a responsive or a mobile-friendly website can be tough if one doesn't know the difference. In...