Responsive Web DesignAs mentioned above, responsive web design focuses on how the site appears on any given device. A responsive design website automatically fits the screen size of the device being used to view it. This allows you to capture a broader audience since responsive sites are designed to load on both mobile and desktop browsers. Among mobile design methods, responsive is the more cost effective regarding ongoing maintenance because there is only one site and URL to maintain. In addition to being cost effective, the responsive method is also recognized by Google as the best design pattern (developers.google.com). This is important to consider because Google started using mobile friendly websites as a factor in search engine rankings in early 2015 (business2community.com). On the other hand, trying to accommodate both mobile and desktop users with the same interface may end up having a negative effect on the layout of the website for all users (designmodo.com). Also, older browsers and devices may take longer than expected to load a responsive web page. Although more efficient for ongoing maintenance, the upfront development cost of responsive websites can be higher than mobile web or native apps.
Mobile Web DesignMobile web design is specifically intended for mobile platforms and website content is typically kept at a minimum in comparison to desktop-oriented websites to ensure faster loading time. Because there are so many mobile device types, operating systems, and screen sizes used today, mobile design must also be somewhat “responsive.” As with responsive web design, mobile design has its fair share of drawbacks. First, there are two websites to maintain and two URLs. Mobile users may have to wait longer to be redirected from sites intended for desktop browsers. Since there are two websites to maintain the added cost will be a factor. Lastly, since there are so many types of mobile devices and browsers to accommodate, the user experience may vary across these devices.
Native AppsNative apps, like mobile websites, are designed specifically for mobile devices, but unlike mobile websites, native apps are geared toward a very specific audience (designmodo.com). Apps take advantage of device features such as GPS and cameras. Since they do not require a browser, users may interact with features while offline (information-age.com). Like the other solutions, apps have downsides. The cost to develop and deploy an app is higher, and since apps are operating system (OS) specific, the cost to make apps available on multiple OS platforms are even higher. Other considerations are apps must be approved by the operating system’s app store, and 30% of earned revenue goes to the OS app store.
In ConclusionThere is no “one size fits all” solution for web design to reach the growing number of mobile users. If you want to reach a larger audience, responsive web design may be the way to go. For those with performance in mind, mobile web design, or native apps may be the better choice. Sometimes a combination of multiple options may work best if budget and resources allow for it. Ultimately, the target audience should be the main factor in choosing which web design solution meets your business goals. User experience research can help you determine the best strategy. What web design solutions do you use and how do you obtain feedback from your users? Please share below.
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2 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Native, Mobile, and Responsive Web Design”
Thank you for sharing this article.Its good and very usefull for us responsive web design companies
Responsive web themes and design is the way to go! Web designers should take this into consideration as more people now access the internet through their mobile devices.