Many businesses today deliver great web pages that explore new trends like HTML5, parallax scrolling and more, yet it seems too many still overlook the browsing experience of their mobile users (note, I used the term ‘experience’ there.) Offering a well presented and thought out mobile site can change the way your customers and potential customers perceive your brand. It affects their buying decision and also whether or not they choose to recommend you to their friends and peers. Some companies are completely overlooking mobile websites altogether, offering their full site scaled to a miniature size to fit the various different mobile phones/tablets we have today. Others offer a mobile site but deliver a patchy experience that doesn’t fulfil the purpose of their desktop site, or the mobile site gives a totally confusing brand experience that is highly likely to result in lost customers and revenue.
Getting it right, not just getting it first
Using the web on a mobile is an eclectic experience. We tend to come across three types of mobile experiences.
The full site, pinch and zoom: A site that displays so small you will find yourself quoting Zoolander with the illegibility of the text. You can’t help but cry ‘What is this, a website for ants?’
The .mobi experience: Some sites will direct you to a separate website, usually with .mobi or m. url tags. This is a common tool in web creation; it has its downfalls, which we will discuss in greater detail later.
The responsive website: This can often be the best experience for users. The site will display like the desktop in regards to branding, style and content. It may also benefit your web team in a number of ways.
There are other types of mobile experiences such as web apps, but the aforementioned tend to be the most common. Choosing which is right for your company is essential and knowing the different benefits could not only give users a better experience, but also give you better web stats and SEO results.
Which is best .mobi or responsive?
There is no need to go into why the full site option shouldn’t be an option; but what is the real difference between a .mobi and a responsive website? Below outlines the differences and which one you should choose if you’re are trying to get the most from a certain web criteria:
Maintenance - Choose Responsive - Maintaining a responsive site will come through your existing site’s CMS, making it a simple one-update process. However, .mobi sites can mean a more tailored approach for mobile content, offering exclusive/different content based on mobile users needs. Setting up a simple tagging process for your responsive site can achieve the same result.
Native App Integration - Choose .mobi - .mobi sites give you a chance to tap into the devices natives apps such as the camera, map and messaging with ease. Responsive sites offer these same integrations, but it can vary depending on the users device and process. This makes the cross over between apps less smooth and seamless.
Cost - Choose Responsive - Responsive sites can be created in a number of different coding languages, such as HTML5 and CSS3 - which is native to web. Conversions to mobile dimensions can also be made quickly. Most developers know these languages and its universal nature means standards pre-exist. .mobi sites usually have to be created in a bespoke manner and has to fit a number of different native coding languages - not just web standards. Meaning extensive testing is necessary and development costs can add up.
Content - Either - This comes down to what you want to offer. If you want a simple, streamlined site then .mobi will give you the best result. A responsive site will give a user full access to all your content, which is always nice - no one like to miss out on things. Each can be tailored and tweaked and the content is really down to you.
Speed - Choose Responsive - If you don’t have a mobile site by the time you are reading this, then you are already way behind (sorry)! Responsive sites can be quick and easy to re-create if you have clear information architecture for your site. You may find our whitepaper on ‘Top Tips for Creating a Responsive Website’ helpful.
Conversion - Choose Responsive - Setting up a .mobi site means all your SEO and links will have to be re-created. This duplication is needless. Responsive sites use all your current site’s SEO and tags, meaning your current conversions all contribute to the same web space. Interestingly, searching on mobile, .mobi’s versions of sites will often show higher but as it is a separate site, you are going to miss out on all your desktop traffic.
Design - Choose Responsive - Designing for both is fairly simple, you can make beautiful looking mobile sites regardless of the process. Responsive sites however, are adaptive. The experience will always replicate the same no matter what phone, browser or settings the user has. Updating the design of a responsive site is also easier and quicker. Many. mobi sites - due to cost, stick around longer - which sounds good - but in the long run it makes websites look dated. Combining this with its lack of adaptation to the users conditions, results may vary, making it difficult to give all users the same experience.
Overall, responsive comes out on top. If re-creating your desktop offering is what you are after then a responsive site will give you exactly what you need. With each having their merits, approaching the project with a clear goal on what you want to achieve as a brand and for your audience, is key. Take a look at Google’s breakdown on what the best mobile solution could be.
The other alternative to all this of course, is creating a native mobile app for download in the app store. This takes a lot of planning and can be costly, get in touch if you think this is the route for you.
Why should you be ‘responsive’
Mobile is huge - if you didn’t know that, where have you been? In 2013, there were over 1.2 BILLION people accessing the web from their mobile device. Giving your users the same experience across platforms is therefore essential. If you are still not convinced here are 10 more mind-blowing stats:
- 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.
- Global mobile traffic now accounts for 15% of all internet traffic.
- 60% of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in store, and another 50% while they're on their way to a store.
- 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV.
- No one screen size has more that 20% of the market share.
- Almost half a billion tablets will ship in 2013 and 2014 alone.
- Tablet users spend 50% more than desktop users.
- 25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.
- Mobile-based searches make up one quarter of all searches.
- 95% of smartphones users have searched for local info.
Stats taken from mobify
Decision made? Good. Stop wasting time and get one today!
How to be ‘responsive’-able
With your options whittled down and your choice made. How do you go about making your website responsive? Take a look at our whitepaper - ‘Top Tips for Creating a Mobile Website’ for some pointers.
The best approach is to look at your company and existing site and write up a list or brief on what you want to achieve. Do you want to push one service or give your users as much data as they can eat?
Take a look at ‘E Consultancy's, 10 great examples of responsive web design from around the world’ to see where you could take your site.