Mobile responsive vs. mobile friendly

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Despite sounding quite similar, mobile responsive websites and mobile friendly websites are quite different website designs altogether.

Mobile responsive
A responsive website is a website that is designed to respond (or change) based on the device being used to view the website. A responsive website viewed on a mobile device will adjust the sizing of its text and images, as well as move from a three-column layout to a single column display. Any ‘unnecessary’ images on the website are hidden so they don’t interfere with the more important information on the smaller display. Users can test if a website is responsive when using a desktop computer by reducing a browser’s window size from full screen down to a very small size. If the text, images and menu change as the window gets smaller, the website is responsive.

Mobile-friendly
A mobile-friendly website is designed to behave in the same manner across a range of devices. This means that nothing changes when the website is viewed on a computer or mobile device. However, features like navigation drop-downs are limited. Mobile-friendly websites have no usability concerns, regardless of the device on which it is being viewed.

Which one is right for you?

Responsive
Even though you can achieve a more customised mobile experience with responsive websites, you will need a larger budget since responsive website designs require expertise, more time and proper planning. Consider going responsive if:

  • A large majority of your customers (website traffic) view your website from a mobile device
  • Your website has complex content and features that are difficult to view on a mobile device
  • You want your website to appear up-to-date for a longer period of time

Mobile-friendly
While mobile-friendly websites don’t have any flashy features or special functionalities, you can still achieve a consistent website experience across all devices with this simplified website version. Consider a mobile-friendly website if:

  • You don’t have a huge mobile audience looking at your website via a mobile device
  • Your website is made up of mostly text and images
  • Your website images are small, allowing for fast loading over mobile connections
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