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Mobile Websites - A Quick Jargon Buster

Posted on 10th February 2014

Since 2013, we've had an increasing number of enquiries regarding mobile websites and there is some confusion over what the options are and what they entail. So we've put together a quick guide to the different options and there pros and cons.

Mobile Friendly

This generally means that the website is standards compliant and will render and work on mobile devices with a standards compliant browser but no work has been done to improve the user's experience with smaller screen sizes.

Pros: Works with minimal additional work and testing

 Users may struggle with navigation, text size and may have to zoom in and out and scroll around to use the site.

Adaptive Web Design (AWD)

AWD is where a site is designed to show different content based on the screen size of the visitor. This means that visitors with small screens will see a pared down version of the full website.

Pros: Better and faster user experience for visitors with small screen mobile devices.

 Two versions of content need to be managed, multiple versions of content will most likely cause issues with search engines and assumptions are being made on what the visitor should and shouldn't see.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD is where a website has been designed to show the same content in different layouts and sometimes with even different functionality to work with Guesture on touch screens, such as swiping.

Multiple versions of graphics are generated for the different device layouts and served up dynamically to speed up the browsing experience. The website layout changes programmatically to display the content to best fit the device, for example you could have a:-

  • 3 column layout on a desktop device
  • 2 column layout on a tablet device
  • 1 column layout on a Smartphone

Pros: Only one version of content is required, a better and faster user experience for mobile device users. Recommended method by Google.

 Involves more work initially as the website needs to be designed for 3 different layouts and programmatically change for different device screen sizes.

At 3wise, we agree with Google in that Responsive Web Design is the best solution, as it addresses the need to provide an improved user experience by delivering the same content on different device sizes, meaning there is only one version of content to manage.

Interesting Statistics from 2013

30% of all web traffic now originates from mobile devices.

40% of all e-commerce transactions originated from mobile devices during Christmas 2013.

97% of mobile device users have had a poor user experience with websites that weren't mobile friendly.

57% of mobile users who had a poor experience also said that it damaged their opinion of the brand.

The mobile revolution is happening. 
The question is can you afford to ignore it and potentially 
lose 30% of your enquiries.

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