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The Difference Between Mobile and Responsive Websites

By 24 February 2016No Comments

If you have been reading our blog for a while then you will know that we love a good responsive design. A responsive design is what can raise your web design into a whole new realm of accessibility, functionality and overall performance. We are sure you know why you need a responsive design. However, too often, people can become confused between a responsive website and a mobile website or as it’s also known the mobile-friendly website. If this is you, don’t worry, it is a very common mistake. That’s why we have put together this article to explain to the average Joe that having a mobile-friendly website is nowhere near the same or as beneficial as having a responsive website.

  1. One website or two websites.

Normally two heads or two websites, in this case, are better than one but this is certainly not the case as having two websites can prove to be less accessible to your users. Mobile sites theoretically create two websites; one for desktops and one for mobiles. This can (but not always) create two URLs which can confuse many users trying to navigate to your site. Additionally mobile users will be automatically forwarded to your mobile site which can make load times slower. Whereas a responsive website is just one website, with one URL and one loading time with no forwarding. This results in a much more efficient experience for the user.

responsive website


  1. Google’s favourite or disappearing SEO.

In case you haven’t heard responsive design is Google’s new favourite for SEO whereas mobile designs are neither here nor there. This means that if you want to climb the ranks of Google you better have a responsive website at the ready. The search engine algorithm for Google will always give responsive websites priority over mobile sites when ranking them. This is because responsive web designs tend to be more user-friendly with better accessibility, functionality and performance. At the moment, Google is all about giving the users what they want and at the moment that is responsive designs.

responsive website

  1. All the content or little content.

You cannot showcase all of your content from your desktop site on your mobile friendly site- fact. With a mobile friendly web design, you have to pick and choose which pieces of content you are going to show. This limits your content massively and can prevent users from really seeing the true essence of your brand not to mention it can have a dampening effect on your SEO. However with a responsive design, you can keep all of your content. Remember content is king when trying to generate frequent traffic and a loyal user base which equates to a successful website. Thus, a successful website needs a responsive design.

responsive website

  1. Adaptive or non-adaptive.

Mobile friendly web designs do not adapt to all screens. They are called “mobile-friendly” sites for a reason. They are used to shaping to mobiles. However as time has passed we have been introduced to a larger variety of mobile devices with varying screen sizes. This can be a problem for mobile friendly web designs as they have only been designed for mobiles and may have trouble fitting on screens such as iPads and tablets. Luckily, with a responsive design, it can adapt its shape and size automatically to fit users’ screens. So there are no more worries about fitting or filling up multiple screen sizes.

responsive website

  1. Future proof or constant updates.

Responsive design is pointing in the direction of progression and development in the web industry. Many experts predict that it will lead us into the future of web design. On the other hand, mobile-friendly sites are barely holding on. They need constant updates to keep up with the latest technology such as varying screen sizes, as stated above. Responsive designs are future-proofed and are guaranteed to stay ahead of the web game, unlike their unreliable counterpart.

responsive website

There you have it. The five big differences between mobile-friendly and responsive web design. If that wasn’t enough here are my favourite articles on the topic.

Responsive web design vs mobile sites.

The difference between mobile friendly and responsive.

I’m sure you’re ready to switch from mobile to responsive now, but just in case you need even more convincing read our reasons why you need a responsive design and check out our responsive design infographic. Until next time, happy designing!

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