It’s a frustrating situation when a company has created a mobile site or an app that ends up causing more of a struggle than if you were to use the regular website. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two types of website designs, and when one might work better than the oth
Responsive design allows you to see the website in its original form, but perhaps slightly modified to work best on whatever platform you use. The website adapts to your screen settings, adjusting the text if the screen flips from your phone from horizontal to vertical, and sometimes accommodates zooming in and out as well. It uses the same code as the original site meant for computer viewing, which saves time and money for developers.
The downsides to using this type of design? Websites without mobile devices in mind may have painfully small text and so much information/so many links on one page that users can feel overwhelmed. Luckily, a few newer mobile devices, such as the BlackBerry 10, allow for a much improved display of responsive sites with higher resolution and larger screens.
Mobile Design (Or Mobile App)
Mobile websites and mobile apps essentially give the same service. The only difference between the two: a mobile site simply requires you to go to the link in your web browser; a mobile app needs to be downloaded to your device.
Mobile sites come with a design specifically made for your mobile device. Usually they’re designed particularly for smart phones, and then companies offer the same design on tablets as well. Generally, smart phone users want a different experience than somebody on a laptop or desktop computer. Desktop versions usually give you the feeling of being able to explore freely. Mobile apps and sites work around walking you through their website or through a specific process while trying to tailor it to you automatically (usually by offering options and/or finding your GPS location, depending on the company service).
You generally receive a limited experience when using the mobile versions rather than desktop versions. While convenience rises, features fall. You may want to know specific information about a company, such as its address or how to contact it. Features like this often come less accessible in the mobile versions of websites.
Which Approach Should Companies Take?
It’s really up to the company’s service and the customers’ demands. Obviously, you could make both a responsive type and a mobile one, as long as you have the budget. This has worked for many companies. For example, The Guardian has both a responsive design and mobile designed site.
The responsive design gives you essentially the desktop version of the site, and allows for easy browsing and viewing of all articles. The mobile site gives convenient lists of articles and aesthetically formatted text and photographs.
So the real question, what works best for the user? It seems that the casual site user may want to stick with mobile designs when browsing a website. People who want to explore the depths of the site will want to use responsive design to have more freedom and access to the site. Take some time to explore both types and see which one suits you best.