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Mobile Web Design

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The way we use the internet has changed dramatically since the first website went live in 1991. At the time, the only way to access the internet was on a desktop computer. Now, in 2018, most online traffic is made up of mobile devices — about 53% and climbing fast. Some experts predict that by the end of 2018, as much as 80% of all internet use will take place on a mobile device.


These statistics show just how rapidly the online landscape can change. It can be difficult to keep up — one study found that less than 20% of the top 10,000 most-visited websites were designed as “responsive,” which is the new standard structure for how websites should be built in the “iPhone” era.


To clarify, a “responsive” website is different than a “mobile-friendly” website or a “mobile-only” version of a website. How?

  • Mobile-Dedicated Version: Websites with mobile-dedicated versions generally load an entirely separate website from the “main” desktop version. Often, these websites have a URL similar to “m.[domainname].com” — the “m.” indicating that it’s the mobile version of the site.
    • What’s the problem with Mobile-Dedicated Websites?
      • When the mobile version of the website is entirely separate from the “main” website, updating your website requires making changes to both the desktop and mobile versions. Furthermore, it is often complicated at best to configure the websites such that a user on a cell phone will always load the Mobile-Dedicated version. Finally, a Mobile-Dedicated version of a website does not necessarily inherit its search engine rankings from the “main” website, so a mobile user may only find the desktop version of the website in search results.


  • Mobile-Friendly: “Mobile-Friendly” websites are laid out in such a way that the website can be displayed on a mobile device. If that sounds like a rather broad definition, you’re right — it really just means that a site is “usable” on a mobile device.As an example, we found a couple of very old sites:Welcome to Netscape! — This page has not been updated since 1994, and the extremely bare-bones design reflects that. However, you’ll also notice that despite its age, the site is actually quite easy to navigate and use on a mobile device. It passes the “mobile-friendly” test.EasyNett — Now, compare the page above to this similarly obsolete page that — ironically — lists open positions for a web design and development company. The page displays on a mobile device exactly the same way it does on a desktop, making the page content virtually unintelligible without lots of tedious scrolling and pinching.
    • What’s the problem with Mobile-Friendly websites?
      • As these examples illustrate, a mobile-friendly website doesn’t necessarily mean that a website is optimized for use on a mobile device, simply that they can be used on a mobile device. While the “Welcome to Netscape!” example could be considered “mobile-friendly,” the reason for this is the extremely sparse design and layout of the page. As more features and elements are added, the page naturally becomes less mobile-friendly, as seen in the second example.


  • Responsive: The current standard in web design and development, Responsive design means that a web page’s elements are rearranged, resized, and/or replaced depending on the size of the screen on which the page is viewed. For example, check out the homepage on fastersolutions.com. If you’re on a desktop computer, you can resize the browser window to the approximate size of a cell phone, and you’ll notice that the page elements automatically rearrange themselves in a way that makes them easy to view, navigate, and use on a mobile phone.
    • Why is Responsive design the best option?

      • Responsive design provides the same benefit as a mobile-dedicated version of your website — the ability to provide your mobile users an experience tailored to the device they’re using — but without the downsides, such as the need to duplicate any updates made to the desktop version of the website on the mobile version, issues with search engine rankings, and so on.

Long story short, a responsive design is the best way to ensure that both desktop and mobile users can easy use and navigate your business’s website. On the other hand, a poor online experience for mobile users could cause you to miss out on over half of your potential customers — and that number only grows as technology continues to advance.


At Faster Solutions, all of the websites we design and build are fully responsive, and approached with a “mobile-first” mentality. We’d love to work with you to keep your business on the cutting edge!

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