1) Do I need my website to be mobile friendly?
Wikipedia states that in February 2015, 32.98% of website traffic came from people using mobile phones to browse the web. That is
an increase of 8.3% from the previous year where 24.68% of mobile traffic was recorded in February 2014.
Depending on the website itself, this statistic will vary. For example, it stands to reason that a site about knitting would attract older folk who would typically use mobile phones for browsing far less than, for example, a site like Twitter which is low on graphics and high on youths with poor grammar. So although your target market will dictate how necessary a phone friendly website is, it's likely in your best interest to plan for an upgrade to your site that takes smart phone users into consideration.
2) What does 'mobile friendly' even mean?
One of our clients asked 'Why can't mobile users just zoom in to the parts of the website they want to read?'. Well, technically they can, but there is more to consider than just the size of the screen. There are certain obstacles that smart phone users and tablet users will face when browsing the web with their devices that ordinary website users might take for granted.
- For one, they don't have mice, so any dropdown or popout menu that doesn't also work with a mouse-click instead of only a mouse-hover will simply not be navigable.
- Another point is that Smart phone users often utilise WiFi from restaurants with very slow connections. This means that Smart Phone users want website graphics that are optimised for their devices and don't take as long to load.
3) Do I need a Dedicated Mobile site?
In the past web designers would design a website for the most common browser resolution, most recently 990 pixels wide which is
ideal for ordinary screens and tablets in landscape mode, and still ok for wide screens (albeit a bit narrow). If the client
wanted to cater for Smart phone users as well, we would then design a separate site specifically made up for Smart phones in
landscape mode, and if users visited the site using a mobile device, a script would automatically redirect them to the mobile
We can still do this, but the drawback is obvious - you now have two sites to maintain.
The solution to this problem is... responsive design.
4) What is 'Responsive' Design?
A responsive website is one that dynamically reshapes and restyles itself based on the screen size that the website is viewed on.
The user is not redirected to different versions of the site, but rather it is ONE site that changes itself to suit the user.
Not only does this eliminate the need to admin multiple sites, but we can now also cater for more scenarios, like your Smart phone
or tablet in portrait mode and of course wide screen users can finally make the most of their screen real estate.
This website is responsive and you can see it in action by grabbing the side of your website browser (if you are on a PC) and dragging the window narrower. This reduced screen size simulation will result in the website changing before your eyes to fit better within the space designated. If you are viewing this on your tablet or mobile phone, tilting the device on its side will also result in the site restyling itself.
5) How much will it cost?
Considering that there is roughly five times more work involved, it shouldn't be surprising that a responsive website will cost significantly more than a standard website. You may find some website providers are offering dirt cheap responsive design, but that can only mean that they are doing a half job - they are likely throwing a site together on a responsive framework and not bothering to produce different sets of graphics or fine tune the site to make sure it looks AS good in all views.
you get what you pay for.
Without knowing the exact specifications of your website, we won't be able to provide an accurate cost here, but we can tell you that we charge between 2 to 3 times more for a responsive site than we do for an ordinary site.