responsive technology transforming websites for mobile devices

Transforming Your Website for Mobile Devices

September 30th, 2013

If you have been keeping up with the latest web trends you have undoubtedly read about responsive web design. If not, this article is for you. What is responsive web design? Is it right for your business?

A highly functional responsive web design is built to work on a wide range of devices. On a desktop computer, the website appears like any other site. For tablet and smartphone mobile devices, it provides an “app-like” experience with large buttons, so users do not have to manipulate the site by pinching and zooming. The amount of content may be reduced so that the mobile visitor has the best experience. Sounds pretty good so far, but have you ever heard of the toy line known as the Transformers?

Responsive web design is very similar to the premise behind the Transformers.

With Transformers you have one toy (one set of code) with parts (website content) that can be shifted about to change it from a vehicle or animal (desktop view of your website), to a robot action figure (mobile view of website) and then back again. Moving the individual parts around takes patience and skill (highly technical code that responds to the device’s screen size).

The concept of responsive web design is cutting edge and spectacular!

Let’s revisit the Transformer analogy… The concept of moving parts around to “transform” a toy into a different action figure takes careful planning and impeccable implementation. What’s the downside? If one tiny piece (of code) gets bent or broken, the entire toy (website) can be rendered useless. In terms of a website and designing for mobile devices, as soon as we think we have the technology figured out, it changes.

Whether you want to invest in one website code for your business or not, really depends on several factors. Clearly, if you are the type of person who seeks the latest technology, is willing to stand in line without concern for budget, then go ahead and jump into responsive web design with a developer whom you know, like and trust. Conservatively, if you are one to wait for a couple of updates to be released and would like to invest in a more proven approach, then wait for responsive technology to mature and opt for a stand-alone mobile website instead.

Unlike responsive code, stand-alone mobile websites are an affordable solution that is driven by separate code and initiated by screen size. Just like responsive websites, stand-alone mobile sites provide an “app-like” experience with large buttons. What’s great about this option is that there’s less risk of breaking the code, and these stand-alone sites are budget conscience.

The most important factor in determining whether to launch a mobile site is your target audience. Understand your ideal customer. Who are they? Are they using mobile devices to access your website? Also, use your site’s analytics to find out what percentage of visitors are accessing your site on a tablet or smartphone device. These factors are key to deciding your current and future needs for mobile technology. If you’re too busy running your business and would like us to evaluate your site, contact us for a free website assessment today.

Written by: Carol Palichleb

President and Chief Information Officer,
Palicor Communications

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