Should businesses and brands make their websites responsive?

With over 60% of the UK owning a smartphone and just under a fifth of the population owning tablets, it’s vital that businesses and brands are thinking about the different types of device their websites are being viewed on, and also what situations the users are in when viewing websites. 

A recent report from Econsultancy found that four out of five organisations in the UK are still not designing their websites for smartphones or tablets.

As the use of mobile devices continues to increase, businesses need to be thinking about how their websites are appearing across the huge range of mobile and desktop devices available. 

We all know how discouraging it can be when you come across a website on your mobile or tablet that you can’t view correctly.

If users have to zoom in and out and move back and forth several times to view a web page, they are more than likely going to find another website that is mobile optimised and therefore easier to use.

A recent study from Google confirms this with 61% of its respondents saying they would ‘quickly move onto another site’ if they struggled to find what they were looking for on a website that wasn’t optimised. 

According to comScore, the mobile web is set to overtake desktop internet at some point this year, and for a number of our clients, this is already the case.

In the last month, nearly half of the visits to Mubaloo’s website have come from mobile, and that’s from 200 different types of mobile device! In the increasingly fragmented mobile landscape, businesses really need to consider how their website is being viewed across a whole range of devices, as well as considering mobile context, otherwise they could potentially be missing out on a huge part of their audience. 

One of the newest solutions enabling websites to be accessible across different devices and platforms is responsive website design.

A responsive website will adapt in different ways to fit any screen size. Whether you’re using a 27 inch desktop display or a handheld mobile device, a responsive website will shift and adapt content to display it in the best possible way on the device being used. 

Take a look at our video to see this in action:

There are many advantages to a responsive website. These include reaching out to the widest audience possible with one set of code, meaning only one set of content to manage, reducing costs through single platform development and, essentially, delivering a great mobile experience regardless of device. But this doesn’t mean the approach will suit every type of business. 

It might be better for a business to opt for a dedicated mobile website or a mobile app instead of, or as well as, a responsive website. This will depend on the existing online offering and the experience businesses want to offer their users, not forgetting mobile context as well.

A user visiting a website on a mobile device may have different requirements to a user visiting a desktop website, or they may not. 

There is a common misconception that users visiting from a mobile device are always on the move and want different information to those visiting from a desktop computer or laptop. This was probably the case a few years ago, but as more people are using mobile devices instead of their desktops and laptops, it’s essential businesses do not make assumptions when developing their responsive or mobile websites.

Findings from IAB Research in 2012 show that the home is the most widely used location for mobile activity. But it’s important to remember that people are still using these devices on the move as well. Businesses need to find the right balance when thinking about the content on their mobile optimised websites and this will depend on the type of business, and again, the mobile context, or rather the situations users are in when using their mobile device. 

Whichever mobile presence a business decides on, it’s important to remember that responsive websites, dedicated mobile websites and mobile apps all have a role to play, and businesses and brands need to spend the time evaluating which presence will be best for them based on user experience, mobile context and existing offering. 

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Should businesses and brands make their websites responsive?

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