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Does your business really a need mobile responsive website?

You’d expect us to say “Yes, and we’ll make you one! Sign here!” but we’re more, well, pragmatic about things. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself first:

Mobile responsive website design


Posted by Pragmatic Design on 8 November 2012 | 0 Comments

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What’s a “mobile responsive website design”?

Before we start, it’s worth recapping, for the benefit of those who may be unfamiliar with the term, exactly what we’re talking about.

Simply, it’s a website which automatically optimises its layout depending upon the visitor’s screen size. A visitor viewing the same website on a big desktop screen will be shown a different layout to someone viewing it on a smartphone. Typically, it adjusts to a layout that’s longer and narrower, scaling images down and increasing button and text size.

1. Who is your target audience?

If your website is aimed at office-based businesses, it’s more than likely they’ll be viewing on a desktop PC. If it’s aimed at sales staff who are on the road, they may be more likely to view on a smartphone. The general public are moving towards tablets and iPhones, but traditional screen-sizes still dominate.

If you already have a website, check out the visitor statistics and take a look at how many are currently using a small-screen device and whether that percentage is increasing. Google Analytics is a good place to start.

2. Does it tie into your marketing campaign?

Understand where customers are likely to see your marketing. An advert that creates an immediate call to action will prompt a visit to your website using the closest web browser available. If the target’s on the bus, they’ll use their smartphone. If they’re at their desk, they’ll use their desktop computer. If they’re on the sofa, they may use their tablet or laptop.

You need to capture that impulsive action by clearing as many obstacles as possible from the respondent's path to your goal, and providing an optimised website design is vital! It’s astonishing how many adverts include a QR code which links to a non-mobile website!

3. Is it worth the compromise?

Responsive website design isn’t just about moving things around to get it onto a small screen- some things have to be completely re-designed or even omitted, which can lead to visitor frustration. Smartphones are very good at displaying full-sized web pages and giving the viewer tools and options to zoom into what they want to see. Consider whether this may be a better option.

If you’re unsure, provide a link to the “desktop version”, and ensure that it works for all pages.

4. Would a separate “mobile site” be better?

With one eye on your answers to point #3, why not create an entirely different website for mobile devices? When your site loads, it can automatically detect which device is accessing it and redirect accordingly, rather than scaling and moving content to fit. It happens a lot, and the process is often invisible to the end user. Don’t worry about having to maintain two websites, our content management system uses the same data for both.

Compare this very website ( on a desktop and an iPhone- they’re not the same (even if you narrow the width of your browser window).

5. Do you need a full-sized website at all?

We’re turning the original title of this post around! After looking at the previous points, you may have come to the conclusion that nearly all of your visitors are using smartphones! So why not just design for the small screen? A full-sized screen can still display the website, and you can use the spare real-estate for advertising, extra features or even just an interesting background.

What do you think?

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