It is estimated that the number of mobile Internet users will soon overtake desktop users. As a developer the steady increase in mobile internet use is important since it tells me that the websites we design must look great on both desktop and mobile devices if we are to meet the needs of the typical business website visitor.
I know that some of you have questions on responsive and mobile-only designs, so this page was created to help explain things some, and to provide some visual samples of what a responsive layout will look like.
The first mobile websites were created around 2010 in response to growing number of people viewing websites with mobile phones. Many businesses quickly recognized that most desktop display websites were difficult to navigate (the constant need to zoom in and zoom out was irksome), there were page loading concerns since mobile networks weren’t especially fast at rendering pages, and some of the scripting used and features found in websites designed for full-sized monitors didn’t display well, if at all, for mobile. The solution at that time was to create an additional “mobile-only” website, simplified so it would load fast, and then redirect the user to the mobile-only version by targeting the device type.
If you’ve used your phone to view websites for a while you have likely seen the mobile redirect wherein the URL is changed to a mobile “m.” sub-directory. Here are a few of our mobile-only websites we designed a few years back. Each site was developed with the JQuery mobile UI, and was created to look similar to the main website. All but the one I developed for my business is still in use currently:
This mobile-only option has worked for many businesses, yet there are potential concerns.
- Not all mobile devices can easily be targeted.
- When updates are required there are two websites to manage, so additional cost.
- The mobile-only site is typically simpler, so potentially of less value and interest to a site visitor.