Responsive sites vs separate mobile website?

17 replies
Just wondering what others thoughts are on responsive sites vs having separate sites (desktop site with redirect to a mobile site).

I seen a post on Googles Webmaster that got me thinking more towards responsive sites. Here's a link to the posting: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Changes in rankings of smartphone search results

Would love to hear some feed back on the subject
#mobile #responsive #separate #sites #website
  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Z
    Originally Posted by BarbStep View Post

    Just wondering what others thoughts are on responsive sites vs having separate sites (desktop site with redirect to a mobile site).

    I seen a post on Googles Webmaster that got me thinking more towards responsive sites. Here's a link to the posting: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Changes in rankings of smartphone search results

    Would love to hear some feed back on the subject
    A topic that never seems to go away! A separate mobile site works fine as long as it follows Googles guidelines. In some cases you may find that responsive is the better option but IMO if you are building a "mobile first" experience then you won't get very far with Responsive. Another issue is that many SMB's will be hesitant to invest heavily to revamp their entire website to make it responsive where a separate mobile website will solve their problem quickly and cost effectively!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Moreno
    Originally Posted by BarbStep View Post

    Just wondering what others thoughts are on responsive sites vs having separate sites (desktop site with redirect to a mobile site).

    I seen a post on Googles Webmaster that got me thinking more towards responsive sites. Here's a link to the posting: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Changes in rankings of smartphone search results

    Would love to hear some feed back on the subject
    Ponder this question....

    What is wrong with responsive AND standalone?

    Or better still responsive AND adaptive?

    There is no reason why you cant compliment your responsive theme with a more optimized mobile version of the site.

    Responsive is great for Desktop and Tablet viewers but adding a mobile optimized layer or standalone site will give the best overall mobile end user experience. All you would be doing is complimenting what a great job you have done with the desktop site.

    Look at other Google resources and you will see that they state they recommend responsive ONLY when it is suitable to do so...

    Unfortunately they are vague to say when its not suitable to use... but it doesn't take much to think about it... take Kevin's point for example... then consider other factors, page load times, page file size, think overall end user mobile experience.

    I hope that helps and gives you something to consider.
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  • Profile picture of the author Valdor Kiebach
    I am creating a new site for a friend and I have gone for a single responsive site.
    I can easily add some javascript or PHP to it to add things like 'tap to call' buttons if it is being browsed on a phone.

    It looks good in full desktop and also on my phone / tablets and even on a desktop but with the browser window not maximised.

    As for SMB's not wanting to invest, it would be just as easy to write the new CSS code and add the standard responsive javascript to the pages header. It could end up being less work than creating a whole new seperate mobile site.

    BUT it all depends on what the site is meant to do or what functionality it has so the decision would have to made on a site by site basis.

    For my friends site a responsive design is the best option.
    For other sites a mobile site might be the only option.
    Then others might need both.
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  • Profile picture of the author amcg
    Just wondering what others thoughts are on responsive sites vs having separate sites (desktop site with redirect to a mobile site).
    I'm always in favor of responsive. You will most likely need mobile specific apps i.e iPhone, Android etc. So ideally, your website should be responsive to allow folks on desktops, tablets etc to easily use it and you yourself can easily maintain it using the one codebase.
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  • Profile picture of the author MobiDev
    Hi!

    A responsive design is great because it shows more stuff or less, optimized for a mobile layout, but is likely to still provide access to the full desktop-view's content. But there are some limitations:
    - Not lightweight enough for mobile networks
    - Overly complex, longer development times, more cost
    - Does not take into account that mobile visitors often have different needs than desktop visitors

    So, before making a decision, you should take everything into consideration.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Moreno
    It's funny how many people comment on responsive and mobile but never once mention Adaptive/RESS...

    RESS is responsive but with server sided code doing the extra leg work to make the site more mobile optimized....

    It takes the best of both responsive and standalone and serves mobile optimized content on the same url just like a responsive site so there's no need for a separate domain or subdomain - it just makes the site much more user friendly for your mobile end users - think WPtouch for example that uses the same technology.

    If you use adaptive logic flow it makes sure that whatever content is viewed is the most compatible for the device accessing it since not all mobile devices accessing the web are smartphones, most feature phones have some kind of web browser on them too and dont necessarily handle HTML5 or jQuery so well.

    All you are doing is complimenting your desktop theme with an added mobile layer that benefits the end user - isn't that who you should be building the site for in the first place? For the end user experience? Plus what is quicker? Messing around with an existing sites code to make it responsive or installing a plugin or redirect that will give your end user a mobile optimized site...

    Most responsive sites that i have seen are typically +1mb and have 20+ header requests where as mobile optimized sites are typically a 10th of that or less typically between 20kb to 100kb max... and usually have sub 10 http requests - as connection speeds like 4G LTE become standard page size will probably not matter so much but still there are plenty of stats to show that pages loading over 4/5 seconds on mobile significantly increase bounce.

    By adding that extra mobile optimized layer or site as a developer you can worry less on how the site looks or is formatted on a small screen and simply let your design juices flow for the bigger screens and continue the same design elements over to your mobile site. Desktop viewers get great visuals - mobile viewers get fast loading sites and great visual AND the option to switch back to the desktop site if they want! You get more time/money to move on to your next project, client is happy for the added value you have provided! Win Win!
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    • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
      Originally Posted by Jay Moreno View Post

      It's funny how many people comment on responsive and mobile but never once mention Adaptive/RESS...

      RESS is responsive but with server sided code doing the extra leg work to make the site more mobile optimized....

      It takes the best of both responsive and standalone and serves mobile optimized content on the same url just like a responsive site so there's no need for a separate domain or subdomain - it just makes the site much more user friendly for your mobile end users - think WPtouch for example that uses the same technology.

      If you use adaptive logic flow it makes sure that whatever content is viewed is the most compatible for the device accessing it since not all mobile devices accessing the web are smartphones, most feature phones have some kind of web browser on them too and dont necessarily handle HTML5 or jQuery so well.

      All you are doing is complimenting your desktop theme with an added mobile layer that benefits the end user - isn't that who you should be building the site for in the first place? For the end user experience? Plus what is quicker? Messing around with an existing sites code to make it responsive or installing a plugin or redirect that will give your end user a mobile optimized site...

      Most responsive sites that i have seen are typically +1mb and have 20+ header requests where as mobile optimized sites are typically a 10th of that or less typically between 20kb to 100kb max... and usually have sub 10 http requests - as connection speeds like 4G LTE become standard page size will probably not matter so much but still there are plenty of stats to show that pages loading over 4/5 seconds on mobile significantly increase bounce.

      By adding that extra mobile optimized layer or site as a developer you can worry less on how the site looks or is formatted on a small screen and simply let your design juices flow for the bigger screens and continue the same design elements over to your mobile site. Desktop viewers get great visuals - mobile viewers get fast loading sites and great visual AND the option to switch back to the desktop site if they want! You get more time/money to move on to your next project, client is happy for the added value you have provided! Win Win!
      err that's probably because most people haven't got a clue what you're on about ;-)

      Google haven't written 10 blogs on adaptive sites yet so nobody knows about them.

      You are a good developer , most of us, certainly me, are not and you sort of lost me in the second paragraph .
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      • Profile picture of the author Jay Moreno
        Originally Posted by mjbmedia View Post

        err that's probably because most people haven't got a clue what you're on about ;-)

        Google haven't written 10 blogs on adaptive sites yet so nobody knows about them.

        You are a good developer , most of us, certainly me, are not and you sort of lost me in the second paragraph .
        Am more than happy to demonstrate if your interested
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        • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
          Originally Posted by Jay Moreno View Post

          Am more than happy to demonstrate if your interested
          Hi Jay

          O yes I know, I already have your software, the WP based one and it's damn good, I was more meaning you are using phrases that may not resonate with many of the readers on here so whilst your points are more than valid, they not be totally valued or understood and that could be partly why people aren't using or talking about adaptive, because it's not something they are fully aware of or understand the advantages of .
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          Mike

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          • Profile picture of the author Jay Moreno
            Originally Posted by mjbmedia View Post

            Hi Jay

            O yes I know, I already have your software, the WP based one and it's damn good, I was more meaning you are using phrases that may not resonate with many of the readers on here so whilst your points are more than valid, they not be totally valued or understood and that could be partly why people aren't using or talking about adaptive, because it's not something they are fully aware of or understand the advantages of .
            LOL thats why i have Jeff normally does our public talking/explaination for jumpmobi- he puts it into laymens terms way better than i do - i am a self confessed techie!
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            • Profile picture of the author dmbrennan
              I'm struggling to find a Responsive Website developer (US Based), any suggestions?

              And, understanding you get what you pay for, is $500 - $1500 a solid range for a Responsive design?
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              • Profile picture of the author krenisis
                Forumotion you can get free webhosting and the site works on mobile pretty well. The newer phones like galaxy s2 and up dont really need as much optimizing as in the past though.
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          • Profile picture of the author BarbStep
            Originally Posted by mjbmedia View Post

            Hi Jay

            O yes I know, I already have your software, the WP based one and it's damn good, I was more meaning you are using phrases that may not resonate with many of the readers on here so whilst your points are more than valid, they not be totally valued or understood and that could be partly why people aren't using or talking about adaptive, because it's not something they are fully aware of or understand the advantages of .
            I agree with you, I never heard of adaptive until just now. I'll have to take a closer look at this and learn about it. Thanks!!
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  • Profile picture of the author ozlizard
    It is so quick and easy to create a stand alone site and the chances are it will perform better than a responsive one.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adrian John
    Have a look at these 2 threads to get an idea and decide for yourself I would go for a custom mobile website for smartphones and an adaptive or responsive for tablets.
    http://www.warriorforum.com/mobile-m...ve-design.html
    http://www.warriorforum.com/mobile-m...-websites.html
    Hope it helps
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Z
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