Mobile friendly design and responsive websites

14 June
Multi device development

Smartphones and other small internet-capable devices (primarily iPod Touch) started getting very popular around 2009. At the time, there was a rush to roll out “mobile-friendly” websites, often referred to as “m-dot” sites as they would usually start with m.websitename.com.

M-dot sites were a decent quick solution for many companies, and are still quite popular today as they usually offer a much better user experience than nothing. However, from a long-term solution standpoint that benefits the site owner and site users alike, m-dot sites are dying. The present and future lies in responsive web design (RWD).

RWD is the process of altering the website layout to adjust to practically any device. The most typical scenario is to see a full rich layout on desktop and laptop computers, a slightly narrower version on tablets, and then a completely re-arranged version of the site for small handheld devices like smartphones.

There are several giant advantages RWD has over m-dot sites.

  • Only one site to manage. With m.dot sites, the business owner would often have to manage both the main site, and the m.dot mobile site. With RWD, there is only one site, thus there is only one site to update. This is also useful from a security and management standpoint.
  • Google likes RWD more. In 2012, Google published an article outlining that it would give preference to RWD sites over sites using a redundant main site + m.dot site.
  • Easier to share and bookmark. By only having one page that will work across all devices, it’s easier to share with anyone.

The mistake that many responsive designs make is that they still load all the same content and scripts that a desktop or laptop device would get. This is not ideal as smartphones are usually loading content across mobile networks and using valuable data plans.

Avitrax uses various techniques to detect smartphones and other devices on mobile networks, and further enhance the user experience above and beyond simply implementing RWD.

Here are some recently-developed Avitrax sites that feature responsive designs. Take a look at them from a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone:

It’s more critical than ever for websites to have a solution for small devices. Contact us today to discuss your mobile-optimized and responsive website needs.