Image via Flickr by Malahini Solutions
If you consider how many phones and tablets are out there today, it’s easy to realize just how many screen sizes, resolutions and operating systems there are in the market. This is why developers have been stuck with thinking about how to get websites and apps to work seamlessly across every platform.
With the thriving mobile and tablet market, businesses and bloggers are trying to get their websites optimized to suit the needs of the mobility-hungry audience. The best way to achieve this is by deciding what content should show up on mobile devices and which ones should be left for desktop users only. The content that does go on the mobile versions of the Website is usually just what people need quickly and not the extra information that can be found on the desktop website.
Below are the three most popular ways to bring websites to the mobile market, followed by a comparison of each method.
· Responsive Websites
Responsive web design is becoming hugely popular because it is the only way to use one set of code across every platform at the same time by simply changing the design based on what platform is being used.
· Mobile Websites
Mobile websites have been around for a while now because they were designed for smaller devices. The only difference between the normal website and the mobile website is that the mobile version is more text-based without the large images that are found on the regular website. Mobile websites get their own web addresses, usually with a small “M” before the regular web address.
· Native Apps
Native mobile apps are applications that are built for every platform. Each one has a different set of coding instructions depending on the platform that it is being used. This means that developers must code their apps multiple times to make sure that every single mobile device will allow it to work on its system.
As you can see, these three design standards are different, yet they are trying to do the same job i.e. bring a company’s content to mobile devices. A good way to know which one to use is to understand all of the differences between them.
Responsive vs. Mobile Design
While it may seem that responsive design will always beat mobile design, sometimes that’s just not the case. The fact is that some sites want the quickest way to be able to give their visitors a way to navigate their sites, so mobile design might work better for them. On the other hand, if a company wants to update all of their sites at the same time and do so regularly, responsive design will be better for them. In terms of cost, mobile design is always going to be cheaper because it has far less coding.
Mobile Design vs. Native Apps
Choosing between making an app for your company or designing an easy to use mobile site totally depends on the content that you want your visitors to be able to access on their mobile devices. Native apps will give each user a more personal experience because they can maintain their account on their mobile devices. Mobile design is used when you have a site that is designed to give your visitors quick information.
Responsive Design vs. Native Apps
This is one of the tougher decisions that designers have to make because there are advantages to both designs. Native apps have their own design that are made to work perfectly with mobile devices (with touch features), while responsive design is a fully functional website on a mobile device.
The one huge advantage for native apps is that they can store a user’s information on the mobile device so that they can quickly use the app as they please.
To conclude, the design choice is completely up to the developers and the website owners, but, as you can see, there are advantages to each, depending on the needs of the company. It is up to you to think about how your website should come across on each device so that you know your users will be getting the best experience possible with your content.