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Mobile devices, tablets, smartphones.

These devices are becoming part of our lifes. People at coffee shops are quickly looking up information on the intenet using thier smartphones, take a quick look at the news with their tablets, others play games or share their findings on the internet with their friends. It is safe to say that in the near future many website visits, from everywhere in Cyprus and everywhere in the world, will be coming from these devices.

How would you feel if you would lose important visits just because your presence at the current device was not professional, clean and comfortable to the reader?

Mobile Webiste - Mobile Appication - Responsive Design

It is hard to decide to take the next step and decide what is best for your business without having a clear picture of your options. To make the right decision you need to understand the difference between these important elements.

A mobile website is usually a secondary website (different html) which is presented when a user visits your website using a moblie device. Usually it looks like a mobile application running in browser but it is actually build using the same scripting languages (PHP, HTML 5, CSS 3, JavaScript) as any other website. It dosent have to interfere with your "desktop" website at all. It is a separate entity which traditionally sits on a subdomain (look at the example below, notice the initial (m) for mobile m.travelrepublic.co.uk) but can also be delivered through the same domain depending on the techniques used by the web developer. Some times you are able to visit a mobile website from your desktop computer as well. Here is an example:

http://m.travelrepublic.co.uk/ - Mobile Version

http://www.travelrepublic.co.uk/ - Desctop Version

A mobile application is something completely different. It is a program that must be installed by the user on the device. It may or may not require internet connection, unlike a mobile website which is viewed only online.

The mobile application is able to use the device resources and initiate other programs on that device. It is expensive to build and it is written in programming languages like JAVA.

Now a responsive design is not a mobile application. It is not a different website like mobile websites either.

A responsive design is a design technique that allows your website to look good in any device, regardless the screen size. It has the ability to adjust in different screen sizes, to shift or remove parts of the content to make it user friendly for everyone. To see a responsive website in action, just decrease the size of your web browser and see how our website behaves.

 

So what is the best? We simply cannot say! It depends on you, your plans, your buisness and your current online status. Please review the following table for more information.

As a general advice we usually point out these key factors:

If you are building a site now then go for a responsive layout. - "Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device." - Google

If you already have a website and you do not want to change your existing presence, maybe you should consider a mobile website. - "If responsive design is not the best option to serve your users, Google supports having your content being served using different HTML. The different HTML can be on the same URL or on different URLs, and Googlebot can handle both setups appropriately if you follow our recommendations."- Google


References
http://analytics.blogspot.com/2012/07/mobile-websites-vs-responsive-design.html

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/