Posted 27th June 2013 | By Nick Evans, Chairman

Everything's going mobile - so all the trends say. In fact, check out Anita's blog post from last week and she gives plenty of statistics that say mobile is really important.

So, why DON'T you need a mobile website if all these people are using mobile for shopping, browsing, sharing and more?

Everything's going mobile - so all the trends say. In fact, check out Anita's blog post from last week and she gives plenty of statistics that say mobile is really important. So, why DON'T you need a mobile website if all these people are using mobile for shopping, browsing, sharing and more?

1. A mobile site is only a subset of your full website - not the full experience for your visitors
Let's not confuse a mobile website with a full website - the former is cut-down version of the latter. So which bits are you willing to lose? Your e-commerce? Videos? (Yes, video is not optimal on a phone connection, but most people use wifi hotspots to connect when the need arises.) A mobile website is a totally separate entity from your main site and that brings other penalties:

2. A mobile site misses the character and style of your main website
Yes, it might be the same colour and feature the same images, but the scope for design values in a full website is much greater than in the limited real estate of your phone. It may be branded, but it will never have the same impact.

3. You don't want to have to buy two websites, do you?
And this is the real point - with a separate mobile site you have two lots of development, two lots of maintenance and you have to literally think twice about everything that relates to your website.

4. You don't want to have to allocate the time (and money) to maintain two websites, do you?
And, of course, that comes with a cost - a cost that you can avoid using other technologies.

5. A mobile site is already an obsolete technology, overtaken by apps and responsive sites
A mobile site is not an app - it's a duplication of your website, with bits removed, presented in an interface that is more easily handled by users on a smartphone. This includes having large tappable buttons, scroll buttons (remember, no mouse pointer), larger fonts - preferably adjustable and a simplified interface to match the lack of screen real estate.

Why are there bits removed? Quite simply because a mobile website does not have the technological power sitting behind it that a full website has. It's a compromise, dumbed down to the lowest common denominator and, like all compromises, it doesn't really satisfy anyone fully.

6. A mobile website would not be optimal for tablets as well as phones
And here's the rub - "mobile" implies phones and tablets. However, the trickiness of viewing a standard website on a phone is far greater than viewing that same site on a tablet - even the "mini" varieties. There's more screen real estate and, actually, the website will tend to behave perfectly adequately, if certain key rules are adhered to in its development.

7. A mobile website is not future-proofed
As your main website develops and changes, or extends with new facilities and updates with new features, your mobile website will struggle to keep up a) because it's another expense to add to your development, b) because it's a different and more limited technology and c) because you'll lose interest in it as your main site develops

What you DO need:
1. A website that is scalable to the device on which it is being viewed - computer, phone or tablet. This ability is called responsiveness or adaptability
2. A website that is a single hub for all your information, products, transactions and access - everything should be available from whichever device you use, because many people use more than one device to address the same task
3. A website that grows organically with your business, yet is still accessible from anywhere - modern sites do just this, allowing you to extend your website facilities without compromising people who choose to view on a different platform
4. A website that uses the latest technologies (not outdated ones) to provide the best visitor experience - key to ensuring that your visitors and happy, engaged and likely to purchase from you.

The answer is: a responsive website provides the solution. You can find out more about responsive design throughout our blog and here on our website. You can also see a video of it in action on our Youtube channel.

Nick Evans from ExtraMile

At ExtraMile we try to take an hour out each week to look around us at what others do and to gain inspiration and to admire people's creativity. Each post in this series is one staff member's take on the world of web, design and things online. We hope you enjoy it.

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