What Is the Difference between Responsive and Mobile Friendly Websites

December 30, 2016


When it comes to responsive vs. mobile friendly, most people have no idea that there is a difference.  In fact, the two terms are used interchangeably by most. Additionally, there are some misconceptions that seem quite common as follows:

  • That all mobile friendly websites are also responsive
  • That all websites should also be responsive
  • That the only websites that work well on mobile devices are responsive ones

Here is a closer look at what ‘mobile friendly’ and ‘responsive’ actually mean.

Mobile Friendly

mobile friendly seo

This design means that everything on your website works exactly the same on every device whether a mobile device or a PC. Because it can be difficult to use certain features on a mobile device such as drop down menus, these are limited. The site does not use flash animation. Everything else remains the same.

Key Features

  • The content is static meaning that it does not change
  • Navigation is made simple
  • The images will display smaller
  • It does not depend on the OS of a mobile device in order to properly function

With a mobile friendly site, the user experience will be consistent across the various devices with simple functionality and features. You should consider this type of website if:

  • Your mobile audience is small – under 35% of your total audience
  • Your website is fairly simple with images and text only and without complicated functionality
  • The images on the site are small and can load fast on a mobile connection

Responsive Design

This design allows a website to respond to user needs and devices. The images and text will change going from a layout of 3 columns to one. If there are any unnecessary images, they will be hidden so that the information considered more important will be given prominence.

In order to check if a website is responsive, simply reduce the size of your browser window and see if there are changes in appearance as it gets smaller. If you notice that the menu, images and text change with the size of the screen, then it is responsive.

Key Features

  • Content is dynamic
  • Condensed navigation
  • Images are optimized
  • Spacing and padding is correct
  • Functionality is dependent on mobile operating systems

You should consider getting a responsive website if:

  • More than 35% of your web traffic is coming from mobile devices
  • Your website has features and content that is complex

You want your website to last longer while still looking up to date, our team is here to help you!

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