Today, just over 50% of all websites are accessed on mobile devices. We no longer have to ask ourselves if mobile is important – it is!

Way back in 2011 I had written about needing a mobile version of your site. The message back then was “it depends.” Not everyone really needed to have a mobile version of their site at that point since the number of users wasn’t as large as it now. While I still stick to my “it depends” to this day, our San Diego web design company builds every client website to work well on mobile devices. While the “50%+” stat mentioned above is staggering, those numbers will still vary greatly for every industry and every unique business. Restaurant sites are much more likely to be viewed on mobile as users are out-and-about looking for a place to eat near them on their mobile phone whereas business-to-business searches happen more frequently in an office environment on a desktop computer.

To be “mobile-friendly” or “responsive”?

To be honest this is a trick question. Building a website to be “responsive” is a technique to make a website “mobile-friendly.”

What does it mean to be mobile-friendly?

Being mobile-friendly means when a user sees your website on a mobile device (mobile phone or tablet) it is easy to use. Google classifies a site as mobile-friendly if it:

  • Does not use technology which is not available on mobile devices. Basically, don’t use Flash.
  • Text can be read without having to pinch and zoom.
  • Size all content (text and images) so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom to tell what it is.
  • Links are far enough apart so they can be tapped with a finger

Google has actually provided an automated tool which determines if a site is mobile-friendly. Enter your site and see what Google sees.

What does it mean to be responsive?

A site built to be responsive means coding a layout so it can adapt to any sized screen. When a site is responsive, there is only a single set of templates and styles defined for the site, regardless of the device the user is on.

In the early days of mobile-devices, web developers would create entirely separate websites designed and coded specifically for smaller screens. Management of the site grew significantly since every time an update to the site needed to be made, it had to be made in multiple templates. This meant more time and thus more cost to maintain a website – not at all ideal. This lead to the new responsive method of building sites so site maintenance could once again be easier – one website, one set of templates.

Making your site mobile-friendly

Every new web design we create is built to be mobile-friendly by making the site responsive. We’ve also helped many clients with older websites, ones built before Google’s “mobilegeddon”, update their existing sites to become responsive. Contact us today to discuss your website project knowing that we understand how to make websites mobile-friendly.