Why You Don’t Want a Separate Design for Your Mobile Site

Paul Schetelich

Lead Designer

Can you believe there was a time when we wondered whether or not mobile internet usage would surpass desktop usage? Well, that time has come and gone. Mobile digital media time in the U.S. is now significantly higher (51%) compared to desktop (42%). If you’re not doing an adequate job reaching your mobile audience and providing them with a positive mobile user experience, you won’t just win some and lose some. You will lose a lot.

One question that you may be asking yourself is which type of website experience you should be offering to your mobile audience. Choosing a responsive or mobile-only site design may not be clear cut for your brand as it is for some.

Responsive vs Dynamic Serving vs Separate Site

Google supports responsive, dynamic serving or separate site configuration as long as they are set up properly. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Determining which framework to use is an important decision that will impact how users interact with your brand.

The most popular design is responsive because it seamlessly adapts to whatever device the user is on. Responsive websites are easy to maintain and rewarded by Google. It is the ideal choice.A dynamic serving is useful if you want to show different content to your mobile audience but you don’t have the resources to do a complete site redesign. A separate site configuration is a parallel site for mobile users that enables you to create custom content for them. It’s a separate website entirely.

Why Separate Site Design Lives On

In this post, we want to discuss why you don’t want a separate design for your mobile site. Some people still swear by dedicated mobile sites, but they have very few benefits, if any. Since our goal is to help SMBs be more efficient with their time and money, we thought it was important to explain why a separate mobile design is not the best answer.

If you Google the advantages to having a separate design for your mobile site, you’ll find the classics: tailored content, optimized speed and quick development. With these perks, it’s understandable that some companies would consider a dedicated mobile site to be a suitable solution. Let’s touch on these so-called advantages and discuss them more in detail.

Tailored Content: Do You Really Know What Mobile Users Want?

First off, tailored content is a bit of a catch-22. Sure, it’s great when you write content that speaks specifically to your mobile audience, but do you really know what content they’re looking for? Probably not. You can take a guess, but if you cut out features and eliminate things that are important to this audience, you will make their experience less engaging.

Instead, it’s better to have one site rather than two disconnected ones. This allows all users to have the same features and functionality regardless of where they are coming from. It also makes the user experience consistent from one device to the next. Many people will access a website from different devices depending on where they are in the funnel, and they deserve to have a consistent experience.

Optimized Speed: Is a Separate Site Really Faster?

What a dedicated mobile site can do in terms of speed, a responsive site design can do just as well, if not better. A couple of years ago, websites were more heavy on the content and graphics. They took longer to load with all the pages and images and what not. But today’s websites are clean, uncluttered and minimal. As long as your company has had a recent makeover for your website, a responsive design should allow it to load very quickly on a mobile device.

Here are a few quick pointers for ensuring that your site is optimized for mobile. If you make these qualities a priority, you’ll have no problems with speed.

  • Optimize images

  • Reduce redirects

  • Leverage browser caching

  • Minify code

  • Use Flash sparingly, if at all

  • Don’t add pop-ups

Quick Development: Are You Sacrificing Quality for a Faster Turnaround?

Lastly is the point about quick development. There is a lot of work that goes into making a website responsive, but that’s nothing for you to worry about. When you hire a web design company to handle this task, they will take care of the site architecture for you. The team will start by building an experience from a narrow viewpoint and then scale it up for larger device classes.

Sure, there are DIY tools for making your site responsive, so you can go that route as well. But the benefits to choosing a professional web design company are invaluable, but we’ll save that for another post.

It’s also important to note that a dedicated mobile site has its own share of problems after its setup. If users arrive at your full website's URL, they will be redirected to your mobile site. But how can you reliably detect where they are coming from so that they can be properly redirected? Some companies use “browser sniffing”, but this is far from accurate. Plus, there are hundreds of UA strings that your detection scripts need to be aware of in order to send the visitor to the right page.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to point out that we’re not trying to put down having a separate design for your mobile site. Some companies do and it works for them. But on the whole, having another URL to maintain is another headache and another set of problems that you just don’t need. A responsive design is a much cleaner, easier approach to serving all of your visitors and ensuring a seamless experience with your brand.

About the Author: Paul Schetelich

Since the days of sidewalk chalk and finger paints, Paul has been creatively crafting the art of design. With a B.A. in Graphic Design from Monmouth University and a Masters from the Califano School of Art - Paul quickly moved up the ranks at SEMGeeks from Junior Designer to the Lead Designer. With 4+ years of experience in web design Paul is ready to conquer the digital atmosphere.

Talk With Our Team to learn more about this...

Comments?

We Love to Educate

Get our stellar design & marketing
tips sent right to your inbox.