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Going Mobile

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Going Mobile

Burofloor was the first of my clients to make the move to mobile. It's increasingly important to have a mobile-friendly website, with more than half of the visits to most sites now being from mobile devices.

In this case we came to the conclusion that a separate site was needed. The general web developers' view is that it's best to design a site responsively, so that it can adapt itself to the screen size on which it's displayed. While this makes sense in theory, I've found that a dedicated mobile design often delivers a better user experience, bearing in mind that there's more difference between mobile and desktop browsing than just screen size.

Here are few more considerations:

Desktop/Laptop

Mobile Phone

Tablet

Large screen/high resolution Small screen/low to medium resolution Medium screen, medium to high resolution
Fast broadband Fast broadband/4G cellular or below Fast broadband/Some cellular
Fast browser Browsers can be slow Browsers can be slow
Precise mouse control or touch on large areas Touch on very small areas Touch on small areas
Users generally more willing to read lengthy copy Shorter dwell times with lower reading rates Behaviour tends towards mobile, though more willingness to read
Usually viewed in landscape mode Usually viewed in portrait mode Both landscape and portrait mode used

Relatively slow browsers and highly variable internet speed on mobile devices mean that we have to be far more sparing with graphics. Buttons need to be much larger to compensate for the relative imprecision of touch control, but instead of the 1200 or more pixel width we have on a full size computer screen, we could be dealing with a width of just 320 picels or even less. Now take into account that differing online behaviours suggest that we may actually need to change the content to optimise for a specific platform.

It's clear that a responsive design can end up falling between two stools and not serve either type of user to the best experience. In the case of the Burofloor sites, my WInAB management system controls both versions so that only one set of content needs to be maintained, but interprets the content intelligently for each device type.

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