One Website for Mobile and Desktop Users

Do not listen to the naysayers — one website should be able to address the needs of mobile and desktop users.
And please remember – responsive design is not mobile design. While responsive design is a strong technique for rendering content on mobile devices, it is not mobile design. The best responsive websites can be viewed as intended on desktops at a variety of resolutions. Those same sites also look good on tablets, smartphones, etc.

If a developer considers responsiveness only in relation to mobile, there is an entire web experience opportunity which has been missed. Many designers and developers find it easier and less time-consuming to expand visuals than to shrink them. Mobile browsers are good at rearranging content without being told how to by a developer. At the user’s request they zoom, reformat a page, remove images, and much more.
So keep in mind, you have to code well but you do not have to do anything special for mobile. Using correct alternative text on images helps, as well as ensuring good contrast between foreground and background.
Let us examine more closely what mobile entails.
Research shows a mobile site usually takes the form of, and has the same site structure as the full website. However, despite the increasing importance of mobile devices for traffic and sales, fewer than half of businesses are able to accurately measure the behavioral differences between mobile and desktop visitors.
In regard to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) mobile users requirements are different. Remember your users (and major search engines) are using the mobile web in different ways and for different purposes. Mobile users most likely are accessing the web using a smaller keypad and most likely in a rushed state (in other words users on the move). This makes a difference as far as the users’ patience level, and makes SEO, usability critical to your mobile marketing efforts.

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Remember, users are now viewing your site through a different screen via a different browser. This alters how much content they are able to view and how much of it can be rendered as you would like it to be. It also increases your production efforts since debugging the user experience becomes more than complex.

Companies are conceiving their mobile properties in a variety of technical ways, using an assortment of implementation techniques, and some are choosing to ignore the mobile web altogether. This creates a difficult environment for the search engines to deliver a high quality, standardized service.

Conversely, research shows responsive design improves search engine optimization. For anyone building a website with branding, sales, or visibility in mind, this benefit alone is enough reason to consider using a responsive design scheme. Because a responsive web design all lives in one place with one URL, as opposed to multiple pages targeting mobile formats, linking remains simple. Redirects do not take away from the main site and advertising campaigns all point to one location.

Having a single website destination with a standard set of language, metadata, and keywords also is important. There is no worry if updates have been made in one place but not another or that links redirect improperly. Another advantage is for analytics and data collection, you do not need to track multiple URLs and redirects in addition to the main site or URL. The single responsive page can collect analytics regardless of the user’s device.

Did You Know? By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people & that 75 percent of Americans bring their phones to the bathroom.

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