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Mobile Friendly Websites

Visitors who access your websites through mobile devices are happy as long as they can easily move around, get the information they want, and enjoy their visit. Great mobile websites should still be visually inspiring, easily navigated, not need shrinking to view the entire page, and function in much the same way as the website does on a desktop.

However as a business and website owner, you need to understand the difference between the design options. Responsive Web Design is the simplest, most Google friendly, and best for smaller businesses with simple websites. Larger businesses with $10k+ website budgets, much larger audiences and fully interactive websites, may benefit from Adaptive Design or Mobile Websites, however the need for these needs to be carefully considered as it creates much more, and ongoing, work for the design team.

In 2015, Google made a statement inferring it may penalise websites which are not mobile friendly. To this day there is no indication websites which do not adhere are losing any rankings. There are many reasons a website can be penalised by Google, mobile friendliness is just one which may count more and more in the future. However it makes complete sense to build a website which looks great on any device. There are three options to choose from when building a Mobile Friendly Website.

Responsive Websites

Responsive Website Design (RWD) is the method I use and is also Google’s favourite. It works on the principle of flexibility - a single fluid website, using only one set of instructions (a css style sheet) to display the website. The style sheet is coded so the website displays correctly on any device. Responsive websites flex and change based on a multitude of factors. The website should shrink and expand to fit the device being used to view it, and should 95% display the same on Desktops, Laptops and smaller devices.

  • Responsive Web Design produces an almost 100% overall universal look, keeping your customers and visitors comfortable and clear about what to do when visiting the site on a device other than a computer
  • RWD is Google’s preference. There is no official evidence non-responsive web design is penalised via rankings, however it is sensible to have a website that is flexible enough to display well on multi devices
  • In August 18, 2015, Google’s John Mueller used a Google+ post to reinforce that, when pushed, Google recommends responsive: “A good way to make it [a site] work in both worlds [mobile & desktop] would be to have a site that uses responsive web-design techniques to adjust to the size of the user’s device/settings.”
  • RWD is the simplest option. One set of rules to cover all devices, easily crawled and indexed by Search Engines, and any changes to the design of your website are done on just one page, covering all devices
  • when a new iPhone launches with never before used screen dimensions, the website automatically displays correctly, due to the built in, one-stop shop fluidity

Adaptive Websites

Adaptive Design (Google calls this dynamic serving) uses multiple sets of instructions (css style sheets). Instead of one flexible design, adaptive design detects the device and other features, and then provides the appropriate style sheet to display the website. This means multiple options for display must be built into the website, and any time a new iPhone launches with different screen dimensions to any other, a new style sheet needs to be added to cover the dimensions of the new iPhone.

  • You are really building multiple versions of the one website (not multiple websites). Therefore when making a change to your website layout, you have to make adjustments to every style sheet to cover every device, so the changes are consistent
  • therefore if you are a web designer with 50+ websites, and a new iPhone launches with never before used screen dimensions, it is going to take you a lot of hours to update everyone’s websites with a new style sheet
  • Having said this, it can sometimes result in a less consistent cross-device experiences than with responsive design. One result can be visitors feeling uneasy, unsure where things are or where to click if the iPhone display looks significantly different than the computer screen version
  • All else being equal, Google would much rather site designers support the crawling efficiency of responsive web design’s singular style sheet, than have many different versions they must index and keep fresh, therefore there may come a time when adaptive websites could be penalised for their time-wasting, resource-wasting setup
spiritual web design

Mobile m. Websites

A separate Mobile website (m.dotcom) with the URL m.yourwebsite.com can be built specifically for mobile devices. This website is not used for Laptops or Desktops.

  • You will need to maintain the desktop site at www.example.com and the mobile version at m.example.com if you have a mobile website. Changing the details on one, will not change it on the other. Whoever is updating/editing your website, has to make any changes twice.

Websites built by Sacred Spaces prior to Google’s announcement in 2015, will be mobile friendly, but not necessarily perfectly responsive. Websites are gradually being updated to meet the Mobile Responsive directives.



“Nothing is ever too much trouble, too urgent or too difficult when it comes to Neri.

She has been the right hand of my business since I established this last year. I had tried so many other designers and they just didn’t understand me or my vision. Neri got it straight away & without saying a word most of the time she gets every new look and feel I’m after. Dealing with Neri is like building your brand with a friend, she is so invested in your business and comes from such a genuine space.

She is all about honesty, integrity & building & fostering long term relationships which is why she will remain my first point of referral in this industry. She is a breath of fresh air!”

Rochelle Morgan

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