Responsive web design and development is the current standard for businesses to display their website content on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets.
Responsive web design allows the content from your content management system to display in different formats, using different designed style sheets, driven by the screen resolution of your site visitor’s device. Learn more about responsive web design at Wikipedia.
So, if someone visits your website on a desktop computer, they will see your website displayed in the desktop version. But, if they visit your website on a tablet or a smart phone, they will see your website displayed in a format designed to create the best user experience for their particular device’s screen resolution.
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The key advantages of responsive design over the creation of a separate mobile website are:
Webolutions’ Denver web development team of experts will help you explore different mobile options, help you create the right plan to engage your customers, create highly intuitive mobile tools, and show you how to best utilize these in your overall marketing program.
Do you know what percentage of visitors to your website is mobile? Hopefully you have analytics installed on your site, and you can easily identify how valuable your mobile segment is to your website. Chances are, there’s a significant portion of your traffic that is being overlooked if you don’t ask yourself “How could reviewing my mobile users’ experience help my website, and in turn, my business?” From 7.12% this time last year, the overall percentage of people visiting websites on their mobile devices is up to 11.78% [statcounter] It’s clear the trend of using mobile devices to browse the internet is not slowing down or going away.
With how little benefit it used to be to browse the web from a cellphone, I’m surprised the people responsible for advancing the technology didn’t just give up. Now, having a mobile device doesn’t have to mean a lesser experience with the internet. In some cases, it can even be an improved experience. So, people are turning to their mobile devices to browse the web, and with such a large segment of the web browsers at stake, if you’re not thinking about what your mobile users want, someone else is.
There are a few methods used to create a mobile environment tailored to your audience. One popular method is detecting if someone is viewing the website on a mobile device and serve them a small package of pages, highly stylized for a mobile device, delivering an app-like experience to the user. This method employs a separate administration of a mobile section, where the pages created and edited are dedicated to the mobile site. A visitor is sent to the start page of the app and then is given restrictive choices to sections of the mobile site. This can work well if you know your mobile users are expecting certain information from your site, and don’t want to wade through an entire desktop version to find what they are looking for. A ‘click to view full site’ link may be used, for users who do not find the information they are seeking on the mobile site.
Another method that has gained popularity, is the idea of responsive web design (RWD). This method will detect the screen size of a device and deliver a version of the page requested in a template, optimally-styled and rearranged for the range of widths the current user’s device falls in. Responsive web design allows you to make the most of precious mobile screen real estate. Elements that may be important and engaging may be moved to the top of the page without scaling them down beyond readability. Menu items can be collapsed into a dropdown to take up less space. Elements that provide secondary usability or may have less merit for mobile users can be hidden. All of this while still presenting the same content of the page, that a desktop user would see, to a mobile audience.
So, what if you want your entire website to be accessible in a mobile-friendly format, but you know that your mobile users would benefit from content, navigation and functionality specifically tuned to them? You would need to be able to rewrite content, optimizing it for mobile, and serve it to only your mobile audience. You would need a simplified navigation that could drive your mobile audience to key sections. You would want to make it easy for users to use their applications native to their mobile device to get in touch with you, or find you.
This is exactly the method we are employing in the latest mobile site to be launched by Webolutions. When viewing the site on a mobile device, the visitor is served a mobile-friendly version of the page they are viewing without being brought to a different, mobile URL. While viewing the page that has been tailored for mobile, they have easy access to a navigation that borrows from mobile applications in its presentation and is tailored for sections of the website beneficial for a mobile user, giving the proficient mobile app user a familiar experience. If the ever-present menu doesn’t represent what the visitor is looking for, they have the option of using a drop down menu, presenting an expanded, but still tailored navigation. From anywhere they are on the site, they can click to open their native map application to get directions, and right in the header of the page, they can ‘click to call.’ The content and navigation can be easily controlled by the administrator of the site content, so if in your analytics it becomes clear that certain sections are being sought out by mobile users, those sections can be beefed up content-wise, and made easier to navigate to. Look for news of the mobile site’s launch next week.
With the mobile web being more prolific than ever, re-evaluating your mobile strategy against the current technology and trends becomes critical. When you adapt to the new environment both you and your users win.
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