Guest Blog Written by: Ailsa Chibnall, Sales & Marketing Director, Border7 Studios
Google’s recent mobile friendly update seems to have caused some confusion about responsive design and mobile design. Here are a few questions we are often asked about responsive design, mobile design, and what it means to be mobile friendly:
“Customers can access my site from a mobile device, does this mean it is mobile friendly?”
Having a site that is viewable on a mobile device, and a site that is mobile friendly are not the same thing. A site that is mobile friendly will have had its links, images, and content resized to fit the screen of mobile devices.
“If my site is responsive, or has a mobile design, does that mean it is mobile friendly?”
Yes. If you have a responsive design, or a mobile design, your site is mobile friendly.
“If my site is mobile friendly, does that mean it is responsive?”
No. You can have a mobile design and not have a responsive site.
What better way to clarify responsive vs. mobile design than to talk about wine? Believe it or not, responsive design is a lot like wine. Since we have fans of Pinot here at Border7, we will say for the purpose of this comparison that said wine is red. You can pour wine into a regular wine glass, or into a mega chalice, and it will always take the form of that object. Responsive design works the same way – it will adjust to fit various screen sizes on-the-fly. (Picture below – The Cocoa Pod’s responsive design across desktop and mobile devices).
Let’s Talk About Mobile Designs
A mobile design is usually built in addition to the design for desktop. Content might be limited on the mobile version, and users are usually forwarded to a site that was built specifically for mobile devices. If you’ve ever noticed the “m” in front of a site’s URL, for example, m.sitename.com, this stands for mobile. The site has detected that you are accessing the store from a device with a small screen, and has decided that you should be shown the mobile friendly version of the site. (Picture on the right – RC Planet’s old mobile design. Site has since been updated to a responsive design).
Is One Better Than the Other?
If you already have a site, adding responsive to an existing design can take a while to do, and is by no means a simple task. Responsive requires time to plan. Each breakpoint of the design needs to be established, and content must be resized and optimized for smaller devices. If a design was not created with responsive in mind, chances are that you are going to need a complete user interface redesign.
In the long run, a responsive design will be a better return on your investment. Much like wine poured into a sampling glass, or a two-handed goblet, responsive design will be ready to “respond” and fit the screen size of future devices, large or small.
To learn more, visit Border7‘s website.