Conventional websites do not display too well on mobile devices with smaller screens. Earlier people used to create separate mobile websites targeting specific devices like mobiles, tabs etc. The visitors to your site were redirected to a specific mobile website after detecting the device being used by the visitor.
This was to ensure that the website was optimally designed and viewable on those specific devices without the need of unnecessary zooming, scrolling, panning etc.
Since, this process of Mobile Web Design essentially creates separate mobile websites, therefore, you ended up having different URLs with duplicate content, which is undesirable and also do not go very well with search engines. Also, the mobile device detection process was often flawed sending the visitor to the wrong mobile website version of the site.
Mobile First Approach To Responsive Design
The meaning of Mobile First is exactly what it say, Designing for the Mobile Screen First. First and foremost the designing is done smallest screen and then you move outwards to larger screen with more content and features. The benefits make it a clear choice to opt for the mobile first approach to Responsive Design.
Previously designers designed primarily for desktop users, and rightly so too, since it was the primary touchpoint for most users visiting your site. Now a overwhelming majority of use variety of devices including mobiles, tabs and smartphones; therefore, this segment can no longer be treated as secondary or non-important. As previously, this segment would often get neglected or forgotten altogether.
It basically boils down to giving the mobile the importance it truly deserves in this day and age. And not leaving for something that needs to be done at the end. Considering ways to improve user experience by using a better design process, by designing for the mobile first.
Why Responsive Web Design is Better?
Responsive web design makes use of CSS3 media queries and fluid grids to create Responsive websites, with optimal layout and design, for screens with various sizes. So your website layout changes depending on the size of screen being used to view it. There are other parameters that can be used to decide on the layout for a particular device, however, width is one of the primary deciding factors.
Responsive Websites have many advantages over Mobile websites, some of them are listed below…
- One website for multiple devices.
- No separate URLs for similar content and hence no duplicate content.
- Since you end up with just one website, therefore, it is less expensive and much easier to maintain.
- Your website is optimally viewable on various Mobile devices with the least amount of zooming, panning, scrolling etc.
Therefore, we could conclude that Responsive Website Design is better than Mobile Web Design. As a Responsive website has most of the qualities of a Mobile Website without many of its disadvantages. This is also the preferred way to create sites for multiple devices as recommended by Google.