Jul 09 2012

Mobile Sites Will Be Replaced By Responsive Web Design

Category: mobile marketingTom Shivers


In this post I intend to overwhelm you with the fact that responsive design will make mobile sites obsolete in the near future.

The biggest challenge for businesses targeting the mobile Internet has been setting up user friendly sites that target smart phones and tablets, somehow this often gets interpreted as separate URLs for mobile browsers. But, responsive web design is the remedy for the mobile Internet, there’s really no need for a business site to have separate URLs for mobile browsers.

Here’s why Google is Gaga over responsive websites:

  • One URL for a piece of content cuts down on indexing and duplicate content issues, thus saving Google algo resources (no need to dispatch Googlebot-Mobile).
  • Google is faced with the challenging problem of valuing links – should the mobile site get the credit over the site designed for desktop users? But when one URL is used for all devices it’s better for everyone: users, developers and Google’s algo; then all links point to one page that serves all devices, sweet!
  • There’s no need to redirect users based on the device they are using, which has load time issues and user-agent-based detection can be problematic. No more duplicate content or canonical issues.

Google has been indexing mobile sites and dynamically generated content based on user agent detection for a while now. But, Google can be persuasive when they want to be. It will be interesting to see if Google pushes for responsive design as the mobile Internet grows or if the marketplace adopts it for better reasons…

Here’s why web developers are Wowza over responsive design:

  • Maintaining multiple versions of a website (desktop and mobile) will fade away over time
  • It will lead to a clear architecture and a better user experience (Responsive Web Design: Intro and Impact)
  • Responsive design isn’t limited to layout changes: images can be resized, fonts can change and links can show up differently depending on the screen size or device (Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte)

Here’s why mobile users are Ooo La La over responsive sites:

  • Responsive sites can be shared more easily. Ever been frustrated with the mobile version of a website or forced to share a link to a mobile version of a web page, i.e. m.example.com/page even though you want desktop users to see it too? Yes, indeed it can be frustrating. (Why Google loves responsive design and you should too)
  • Responsive sites are easier to read. What happens when you search for and click on a site that isn’t designed well for mobile devices? Bounce! And even though you may not be concerned with users bouncing off your mobile site, what might Google think about a frustrated user? Hmmm.
  • Responsive sites work on multiple devices and look better because it can scale based on the window size. So, it doesn’t matter what device you are on or if a new device comes out with a different screen size, it still works!

Here’s why marketers are Mama over responsive design:

These are the four biggest reasons to adopt responsive design. If you are still in favor of having a separate mobile site, outside of an app site, share your reason in the comments. Otherwise, I’ll assume that you are convinced as I am that RWD will make mobile sites obsolete in the near future.

Photo credits: jiraisurfer

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2 Responses to “Mobile Sites Will Be Replaced By Responsive Web Design”

  1. Cheryl Brian says:

    I guess this is a wake up call to invest in a nice mobile site. My company site can only be accessed very well on a PC. Thanks a lot for sharing this valuable information.
    Cheryl Brian recently posted..Keeping Up with the KardashiansMy Profile

  2. Responsive design to replace the mobi? « joshmultimedia.co.za says:

    […] his article on reasons why Google, developers, users and marketers love responsive design, titled Mobile Sites Will Be Replaced By Responsive Web Design, states that he believes this technology is the future. In Wednesday’s team meeting though, […]