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Mobile Website Technologies

on in Web Development

Mobile Design

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Sends the same code or instructions to to both mobile and desktop devices; the device identifies the code that is applicable.  For example; the developer may instruct some devices to display what was three columns on a desktop as two columns or even one; or it may direct certain blocks of information, perhaps a picture to be resized or moved to a different spot on the page or perhaps not displayed at all, generally different navigation protocols are also relayed.        

Benefits of RWD

  • Reduced development time
  • Only one site to maintain
  • “Future-proof;" should accommodate a new size or type of device

Challenges for RWD

  • RWD works best for content based sites; the resizing, shuffling content and touchscreen navigation do not always translate well for function intensive sites. 
  • Connectivity: RWD sends the same code to a smartphone with a spotty connection, as to a desktop connected on a high-speed landline.  


Dynamic Serving 

Rather than having the mobile device sort through the code for desktop as well as all the ranges of mobile formats as with Responsive Web Design (RWD); Dynamic Serving uses the server to identify the device and then sends only the code or instruction specific to that device.   Mobile devices may need to operate with spotty connections; less code being sent back and forth can improve your visitors experience.   It is wise to test your site performance in the field; that is were your customers will be when they access your site with mobile devices.  

It is also common for developers to combine elements of RWD and Dynamic Serving.  


URL Redirects

It cannot be pointed out to often that a mobile site is used very differently than a desktop site; navigating using fingers rather than a mouse;  users even expect them to change orientation when turned sideways; few expect that of their desktops.  Where a desktop viewer can scan a large screen to find the information they are after the mobile screen is generally much smaller requiring users to scroll rather than scan.   Connectivity is very often an issue.  Perhaps your website is quite complex pieced together over years making either RWD or Dynamic Serving challenging. 

A mobile-only site may be the answer; function intensive sites in particular benefit as they must accommodate the differences in navigation. Your developer will still be able to link dynamic data; prices, pictures, descriptions, etc. from your main site; visitors will still find you through a search engine or entering the same web address; but the returned code will be an all new site optimized for mobile users.     

Tagged in: mobile responsive