It is an undeniable fact that businesses can attract more customers and make more profits if they have a mobile presence. Almost everyone today carries at smart-phone and they use it for extensive browsing. So if your website is not mobile friendly you will lose out on a lot of potential customers.
You have got few options for this like responsive web design, mobilized website & mobile application. But before taking any decision, you should know the differences between these options.
Let us first examine Responsive Design. Given the fact that many of the Internet users today use tablets and smart phones to view the websites, responsive design is a very suitable option. It is a huge possibility that by 2015 the number of smart device users will increase many fold. So, the importance and role of Responsive Design is bound to receive a further boost.
Now, what exactly is a responsive design? It simply entails using fluid layout, so that when viewed from a smaller device the website adjusts to the monitor size, which is also called the view port.
Responsive design does not change the physical content of the website. Just the layout of the website changes and it becomes more compatible with the device used to view it.
Next, let us go to the concept of Mobilized Website. This website is COMPLETELY aimed towards the smart-phone and tablet users, other less-than-normal web browsing screens. The users get a friendly experience while viewing from the port of smaller size. The mobile websites also filters out the excess information and present only the important ones. Say for eg, if you are viewing a restaurant site from a desktop you will find heaps of details like staffs, employment, menu, past orders, contests, advertisements, ingredients, locations etc. But while viewing from a smart phones it is likely that you will want only the relevant information like deals, menu, prices and location. Mobile websites are created specifically to give you that compact experience. The mobile website should also contains links to the desktop version if users want to check out everything in that website. Usually the link is placed in the header or footer of the page.
To summarize, mobile websites seek to deliver only the most important contents to the users without having to zoom in or scroll.
The primary difference between responsive and mobile websites is the change in the content. The responsive does not change the content, but the mobilized website does. The layout does not change for responsive, but mobilized website is aimed to deliver the important information only in a different layout.
Now let us move on to the latest option, the Mobile Apps.
Apps can be used for many things that the websites cannot do. You can use the apps for taking pictures and uploading it. It can also be used to access address book, track real time location through GPS and major smart phone functions.
When and Which approach makes the most sense :
“If your goal is just to display and show content, I suggest a responsive or mobilized website,” says Icreon Tech’s Varghese. “If your goal is to show productivity tools, build an app.”
“A mobile app makes sense if you are trying to offer something you want smart phone owners to use on a daily basis,” says Freeman. “Another reason to do something as a mobile app is if it requires a lot of interaction.”
So, it concludes that all these options have their own advantages and their effectiveness depends on the kinds of goals the organization has. You can decide the best one for your business depending on your coding skills, content goals and how much you are willing to invest.
“Desktop, mobile web, and apps are all different marketing channels. You have to decide where to focus your development budget…. If you have the budget, do it all.” – Jason King.