Getting past the competition and turning the heads of mobile and web app users is no easy task, but our team of veteran app developers have the knowledge and the experience to deliver world-class applications that both businesses and their customers appreciate. Well-designed mobile applications reach customers, both present and future, and employees, boosting productivity and profit, to grow businesses in ways that impossible anywhere else.
Since our foundation in 2010, we have been providing our clients with top-notch IT products ensuring their success in mobile and web markets. Today we can watch the border between mobile and web becomes thinner putting mobile at the forefront. The tendency of the development of responsive websites has escalated into common practice caused by the necessity to be mobile-optimized. As trusted experts, we would like to share our expertise in web development to help you find out available options to make your website mobile-friendly, see the advantages and disadvantages of each of them, and make a choice in favour of the most suitable option for you.
Why Website Must be Mobile-friendly
Since the 2015 businesses rush to make their website mobile-friendly or create a separate version of the site which would be dedicated to the mobile traffic. In April of that year, Google claimed that it became a mission-critical task to make sure that your website is prepared for visitors who use their smartphones and tablets to surf the Internet. The design should adjust to the screen of the device that loads it. And here are two main reasons to take this advice:
In 2014, mobile finally overtook desktop in the right to be the primary device used to access the Web. Today, billions of Americans use their smartphones to search the Internet, connect their social networks, and shop online regularly. Calling to the statistics, 94 % of smartphone owners search for local information from their phones’ browsers, with 77% of them doing it at places where personal computers also are likely to be present. Considering these facts, non-mobile-friendly websites lose their potential customers and sales due to the limitations and inconveniences related to a smaller screen size and touch operation. Since then, to have a measurable online presence businesses must optimize their websites for mobile devices.
Mobile-friendliness isn’t only about a development of a greater user experience, but now it is also one of Google and Bing search ranking signals. The optimization of your website for the mobile gadgets influences your site’s position in mobile search results. As it is explained by Google, this criterion will help users to find relevant information in an optimized form which ensures site usability and user-friendliness for all the devices. Since the April 2015, 50% of non-optimized sites have lost their rank, what provides us with a clear illustration of the impact of this update and how it has influenced the web development industry. If you want to check whether your web page is optimized for site visitors, follow this link. It not only will tell if your site is mobile-friendly but also show how it looks on the mobile devices.
How to Make a Website Mobile-friendly
The notion ‘mobile-friendly website’ refers to a site that displays data in a responsive manner on both desktop computer and smartphones and tablets remaining perfectly functional on smaller touchscreens. In the development of a mobile-friendly website, there are three main practices which are widely used by programmers to achieve the effect of optimised site.
One of the options available to prepare the site for mobile traffic is the development of a separate site hosted on a subdomain or the same domain with the original site URL. This site serves a different HTML to the visitors coming from desktop and smartphones. Based on user agent it serves different code to the user’s devices redirecting them to the appropriate web page. A proper bi-directional annotation will solve the issue of duplicate content, consolidating ranking signals between equivalent URLs.
This choice enables the development of an absolutely different site structure ensuring full optimization to smartphones and tablets. But at the same time, you should design it in a similar way so that visitors were not confused if they got to the wrong place. The content of a separate website also can differ from the original trying to cover the interests of the users of mobile devices and their search intent. As far as in this case, developers create a website from scratch based on the original design, they can tailor a completely mobile-centric user experience.
Making changes in the content, you risk to lose visitors who came looking for original content. The problem developers face creating a separate website is a continuous necessity to update detection scripts in order to send the visitors to the proper page. The management of cross-linking and redirections between two sites can affect page load speed. Besides, two separate sites require double maintenance cost. As every change in the original site should be reflected in the mobile version manually. A website written from scratch not only requires more efforts and hence time and money for its development but also implies doing SEO from scratch, too.
Dynamic Serving also known as an adaptive site development implies that URL remains the same but it generates different versions of HTML and CSS depending on the type of the device that requests the page. The site serve the code based on what the server knows about the browser which user use to access the page. This option may be considered as an intermediate between the development of a separate site and creating a responsive design, as it eliminates the issues connected with search engine indexation and provides a highly tailored UX for all the devices. Its HTML structure depends on the devices used to access it and varies on every smartphone and tablet. It also can remove too large files such as videos to ensure streamlined user experience. And at the same time, dynamic serving enables developers to specify what users of each device will see, letting drive mobile users to a desired place on the website with the help of HTML.
Dynamic serving ensures unique and customized experience with specifically designed layouts for a range of devices. UI design adjusts to a particular screen size leaving the component the same and enabling opportunities to run the site smoother and navigate it more quickly. With a proper usage of HTML, developers can individually design all pages for all kinds of devices including smartphones, tablets, and TVs. A single URL eliminates annotations needs and guarantees less confusion among users, providing better conditions for search engine optimization. Besides, an adaptive design reduces page loading time.
Dynamic serving implies complex technical implementation and unlike it is with a responsive design, where only changes in CSS are required, an adaptive website creation is a development of an individual site built for particular devices. Thus, the development of a mobile-friendly website with the help of dynamic serving takes more efforts and time and increases the implementation costs. The same problem is with the maintenance which obliges you to have a competent development team to manage the code requirements and updates of the content. Finally, there is a possibility that you may require a Vary HTTP header which signal changes depending on the user agent. Without it, mobile users may be served with a desktop website which is not adjusted to the mobile devices and can become a reason of losing a returning visitors.
The development of a mobile-friendly website via responsive design doesn’t require new HTML code and URL. Everything remains the same but the CSS render the display based on browser width. This option is a recommended design pattern by Google. The idea of a responsive design is to adjust user interface to the varying display sizes in a fluid manner. There is no need in device detection as each user agent enter the same page and gets the same content.
This option is much easier and cheaper to maintain thanks to a single location on the Web, and it doesn’t require extra work for SEO, on the contrary, it has a positive impact on the website’s SEO. The development of a responsive design removes the necessity to perform complicated annotation, device detection and redirection. Besides, there is no need to rewrite the code from the ground up saving the time and development costs. Resizing the images, text, buttons and other elements it adjusts the look to the screen size preserving the text readable and buttons clickable. It looks modern and meets web standards. If you need to update the content, you do it only once.
Working with a responsive design, site owners may face the necessity to change their page design, because if your web page is fine for desktop it may be not that good for mobile and load slowly. Responsively designed site can also load longer due to the lack of re-sizing of images. Sometimes responsive sites can cause certain pages to be inaccessible due to calling some web components to be scaled down. Some of the important features may be lost by users because of long scrolling caused by the vertical accommodation of the content. It is behind mobile version in user experience but remains to be an optimal solution for mobile-friendliness achievement.