What Is the Difference Between a Mobile and Responsive Website?

What Is the Difference Between a Mobile and Responsive Website?

What is a Mobile Website?

A mobile website is exactly what it sounds like: a website specifically designed and developed to adapt to mobile devices. Mobile websites apply to phones and tablets automatically when a user enters the website. Let’s take a look at how a ‘regular’ website becomes a mobile website. 

The first change that is made to accommodate for a mobile website is that the menu is adapted. Generally speaking, menu banners across the top of a page have low functionality on mobile devices, and especially those with touchscreens. To improve this functionality, hamburger menus that have the menu extend from the right side of the screen are generally implemented to accommodate user access via mobile.  

The second major change would be to improve the amount of content being displayed on screen at any given time. This is done primarily through 2 methods. One method would be to reduce the amount of text while maintaining the keyword density so it doesn’t affect a website’s SEO. The other would be to reduce the visible text by having “Show More” buttons that expands the text when the user chooses to view the additional content. 

With custom web design there are other improvements that can be made that include increasing the size of buttons, having a call extension, and the ability to select images to zoom in on them.

Why is a mobile website important?

Mobile websites are important for numerous reasons. However, the main reasons are to improve both the user’s journey and your SEO ranking. On average, approximately 54.8% of all website traffic stems from mobile users, making up the largest portion of consumer traffic. Without a mobile website, over half of your website’s users will have difficulty with your website. Due to this, not only is a mobile website the expectation, but Google also prefers mobile websites for SEO. In this section, we will explore the substantial impact a mobile website can have on both of these aspects.

A mobile website ensures that your site is adapted to maintain the quality of the consumer’s journey. Whether it’s as simple as enlarging buttons, or as extreme as using the navigation menu, this is essential to a website. 

On average, a user is 5 times more likely to leave your website if it’s not optimized for mobile. However, what specifically will cause a user to bounce from your website? Well, since users tend to be impatient and easily judgemental, this is actually quite a long list. 

So, here are just a few key things that cause mobile users problems on regular websites:

  1. When the user has to zoom in to see the content, or if they have to horizontally scroll to see text paragraphs. This takes away from the appearance of your website, but more importantly, it alters the flow of the users’ interactions.
  2. Frequently, forms are not properly adapted to accommodate mobile users, especially for touch screens. Mobile users commonly face difficulties filling the text fields, or even confirming the captcha. For obvious reasons, this is frustrating for both the user and the company hoping for the lead.
  3. When a user loads in, if the imagery is distorted due to sizing changes, this will affect their perception. Not only because of the visual appeal, but also because it calls into question the quality of the site as a whole.

Regarding SEO, it is quite simple as to how it’s affected by whether or not you have a mobile-optimized website. Google ranks mobile websites higher than websites that haven’t been adapted. This is for two major reasons. The first is because the majority of users are on mobile devices so they prioritize websites that accommodate them. The second is because the majority of advertisement clicks stem from mobile devices.

What is a responsive website?

Responsive websites require pre-planning to anticipate design and development adaptations of the website. In other words, they are specifically created to be flexible depending on how they will appear differently on different consoles.

Now, you may be wondering what type of features need to be pre-planned to make these websites work. To help answer this question, here are a few functionalities that are determined to make a website responsive. First is the layout of the website is assessed for each console size so it fits comfortably on the page. This could mean adjusting the layout of copy for legibility, or adding additional functionalities such as “Show More” buttons to reduce the visible text. Next is the resolution and orientation of your page. This means the quality of the imagery needs to be reformatted and variations for different screen sizes needs to be considered. For example, a website on an iPhone would look substantially different from a tablet or a laptop.

Why is a responsive website important?

There are a few reasons why a responsive website is important. However, the most significant reason is the effect it has on the user’s journey. Depending on your website’s ability to respond to the sizing or orientation of a device, you will find it difficult to have meaningful interactions on your website. 

For example, a common mistake many companies make is leaving their content stacked on top of eachother. In reality, this just leads to an excessively long page to scroll through. This causes difficulties finding information and often leads to a higher mobile bounce rate. 

Mobile vs. Responsive Websites: Which is more essential?

The differences between a mobile and responsive website are substantial, but also go hand in hand. A mobile website ensures the quality of users’ journeys by optimizing interactive sections to enhance the experience overall. A responsive website ensures the integrity of the website is maintained visually and with functionality. These functionalities have different purposes, but both of them are integral to having a current, and optimized website that supports your brand.

Looking to take your regular website to the next level with a mobile or responsive redesign? If so, there’s no time quite like the present to make the jump. To stay ahead of the curve, contact TechWyse to start planning your mobile, responsive website today!

Post By Courtney Trim (8 Posts)

Courtney is a Project Manager at TechWyse and coaches soccer in her spare time. Her favourite way to spend her time is with friends in the sun!

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7 Comments

  • avatar

    Great article to read now i know what a responsive site can be and how it can help in generating more business. Thank you.

  • avatar

    Very nice Article to read about responsive webistes, Well, I own a cleaning company if you can take a look at my website and let me know what do you think about my site.

  • avatar

    Nice article Britt I am also a web designer and building responsive designs from scratch or using frameworks like bootstrap of twitter. I’ve completed many sites without any trouble but the only thing I am not capable of describing difference between responsive and mobile sites in clear words. But thank you for this article as it make my work easier because now I can share this link with client if required and they can easily understand.

  • avatar

    I come out of any website that is not mobile optimized because responsive websites have made us choosy! It is great technology at its best with so many different devices like mobile phones, tablets etc. all in different sizes

  • avatar

    Thanks for the info and for the wonderful new website, we are so excited about our launch and the potential it has for our business!

  • avatar

    Great info! Thank you so much

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