According to analysis carried out by comScore, 55% of total internet usage in the US in January was through a mobile device. Mobile internet usage has been increasing, and this was the first month that mobile device usage exceeded desktop usage for internet access. This trend is set to continue.
Optimising your website for mobile device usage has become extremely important to its success.
You will often see a separate version of a website specifically dedicated to mobile users.
This version is designed to take into consideration the limitations a mobile phone user encounters when accessing a website. These limitations include a smaller screen size, the difference in the user’s interaction of the website (i.e. through touch screens) and internet connection speeds.
These considerations can change the whole layout of a website and can also mean that the mobile version of a website could potentially be a simpler, less informative version in order to allow for easier and faster access.
Having to run a separate website alongside the main website means that any updates need to be made on two separate websites. The mobile website would also have to be compatible with the latest advances in mobile phone technology.
The Effectiveness of Responsive Web Design
With the increasing usage of mobile phones to access the internet, it is now becoming more important for a website to be mobile-friendly as well as desktop-friendly. Responsive websites are steadily gaining popularity. These types of websites are designed to be able to be used across devices, thus the functionality of a website is not lost through the use of a mobile device.
A responsive website greatly enhances the user experience. They are able to view and share a web page across multiple applications without having to worry about which version of the website they are sharing. The user is therefore easily able to switch from smartphone to desktop while viewing a website.
The website will automatically adjust to whatever screen size and orientation is preferred by the viewer. Content does not need to be amended for different versions of the website, and any changes and updates will only have to be made one time and to one website.
Internet giant Google has named responsive web design as the best practise for the industry. Having one version of a website means that Google is more easily able to crawl and index your website. It also improves the user experience, as it means that the device users choose to view your website from does not affect the information they have access to.
With Google’s endorsement, responsive web design is now seen as the gold standard for web pages. In today’s fast-paced, tech-heavy world, websites need to work hard to keep up with the demands placed upon them by users and by the industry. A responsive website can allow for greater flexibility both with users and the devices being used.