What is a mobile website and responsive design?

When it comes to websites, one size doesn’t fit all. While desktop computers are still popular, laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones have taken over the personal device market. More people use mobile devices to search online every day than any other device. That’s a huge market that you want to appease, and Online Potential is here to help you along the way.

First of all, there are two ways to appeal to users of multiple devices and platforms: mobile websites and responsive design.

What is a mobile website?

A mobile website is a version of your current website that is made just for mobile devices. It is not a mobile app, which is a type of program that can provide additional features and games to consumers. Mobile websites are browser-based pages, just like a regular website. However, they are optimized to function in certain ways that increase usability and streamline a lot features, like online shopping or site registration.

Let’s talk about what a mobile site can do for your company and your consumers. It can present information in a less-crowded way. Desktop monitors have a large canvas for your website to fill, but smartphones have relatively small screens. You want all the important info to fit on the screen, but you can’t just make the font size smaller or users will never be able to read it. Optimizing the space for content, graphics, images and video will help you consumers find the information they crave more quickly. Navigation is also a key part to mobile website optimization. By using your company logo as a quick home link or simplifying menus for fewer click-throughs, your website visitors will be purchasing faster than ever.

Two great features to include is the ability to auto-fill information on forms and to have a keyboard pop up when an information field is activated. Forms that allow auto-fill can be completed in a snap, and for fields that need to be typed, providing a keyboard to users is a must. Most smartphones rely on on-screen keyboards, so without this feature, it’s nearly impossible for users to input data.

What is responsive design?

Websites that respond to user behavior and the type of device they browse on is considered responsive design. If content, images and ads rearrange to fit on any sized screen, without making text unreadable, then your site is likely responsive. These sites are designed on several grid layers that automatically shuffles page elements according to the screen size or platform. This allows your company to have basically the same website across devices, whether it’s a desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Responsive design includes adjusting screen resolution and shape, images with flexible sizing, creating layouts that are customized for the largest and smallest size changes, rearranging or hiding content to better fit the available space, and using or limiting animations.

Online Potential can help you set up a responsive design based on the browsing behavior of your consumers. Otherwise, you’d need a website for each type of device they use in order to tailor to their preferences, and that just isn’t practical.

Whichever design you decide to use -- mobile or responsive -- we’re here to help you create and implement your website.

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