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Responsive Website Vs. Dedicated Mobile Website


You only need to see the sheer number of smartphone, tablet, and even smart TV sales from manufacturers to know that mobile Internet usage is rising. It is, in fact, estimated that by 2013, people using mobile devices to access the Internet would overcome those using the desktop. In the UK, almost 50 per cent of Internet users actually use their mobile devices to get connected.


It isn’t really difficult to see why this large number of mobile users has influenced businesses with the way they make decisions for their mobile website development. More and more businesses and organisations are recognising the need for a mobile friendly version of their website. But how do you go about it when the two possible options are continuously being debated upon which is the best.


But before that, let’s give a short introduction of each web design for mobile – responsive web design and separate mobile website.



Responsive web design basically means having your website adjust to different screen sizes it is being displayed on. As a result, a website automatically adjusts its text size, image size, and layout across a wide range of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.



On the other hand, a separate mobile website will require you to have a different URL from your main website which means it’s a completely new website optimised for mobile devices. This probably means a new layout, new text and images, and others depending on the needs of the company.


So which of these two options is the best? Well honestly, I don’t think we can answer this with a straightforward answer. Each has their own strength and weaknesses and to showcase this, I’ve made a simple comparison of the two in terms of different categories.



Separate Mobile Website

Responsive Design

Design and Development

The design of a separate mobile website would require more time. Remember that one website is required per platform so if you would just image the amount work that needs to be done for each smartphone and tablet, you will see it’s huge requirement on design and development.

Developers are mostly involved with the conversion of a website to responsive. Basically, one only has to use tools such as Twitter Bootstrap and Boilerplate to get the job done. Redesign is also often done for responsive designs.


Mobile optimized sized tend to load faster since it will have lesser and smaller sizes of images and other html aspects. If a webpage loads slower than 4 seconds, expect that 74% will abandon the page.

Since everything on the main website is still there on a responsive website, it will take longer to load. An example is Obama’s election mobile website which can’t be viewed on Blackberries because its size is too large (3MB.) Managing the navigation in its mobile form is important.


Text is shorter and is concentrated to give users the exact information they need. The content is easy to digest and it also offers call-to-action links. You have the chance to change the content of your mobile optimised website.

You still have the same amount of content and the same information as with your site on the desktop. However, this may cause your website to be lengthy, horizontally, if there is too much text.


Synchronising posts and content that needs to be updated regularly may be difficult with a separate mobile site because it is an entirely different site. However, for blogs, this can be solved through XML feeds or a customised platform. More work is also involved with the change of a single phone number because it needs updating in multiple places.

Maintaining your responsive website is pretty much the same as editing and making changes to your main website. Any changes will be automatically applied to your responsive website.


Since you now have two different websites, the traffic may be divided into two or more sites. Redirecting your visitors to a mobile version of your site could also mean more time for analysis and reporting.

Since it is still relatively new, its effect on SEO is still unknown. However, it has already been know by Google is promoting responsive web design for mobile sites.


Building separate mobile optimised versions of your site is costly especially for large organisation with a large number of pages in a website.

A responsive website is friendlier to the pockets of interested organisations. It will only require work on the main site therefore it is more affordable.


If you’re still torn between the two, here’s a strong tip that could help you. Always have the user experience in mind. They say that user experience is a whole lot better with a separate mobile optimised website but nobody can justify it with all the expenses it involves. No matter which of the two you choose, responsive website or aseparate mobile optimised site, make sure that the end users will enjoy and benefit from your website. After all, it is the users that dictate the way the market moves as it evolves through time.


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