A recent article by Digiday came out with “Why Responsive Design Isn’t a cure all”, and to be perfectly honest that is a very accurate title. While responsive design is pretty awesome (you are here aren’t you) it doesn’t fit all use cases. Sure, it fits most use cases but for some you are simply better off with a mobile specific site.
A much-talked-about way to go mobile is responsive design. Some big brands are using this method, and a lot of advocates are calling it the best solution to fit to mobile. But is it really ideal?
It is certainly an option, but it’s extremely case-based and probably rather just functional than ideal. The function of responsive design is simply adjusting all content of the desktop site to any screen size possible. But ultimately, the mobile experience should be for the mobile audience, which is different than the desktop audience. The mobile consumer is usually on the go, which results in very different browsing behavior. Page views and time spent on a site and/or a page are dramatically smaller than for desktop. Responsive design does not recognize the mobile context — it just adjusts the size
Below is my direct response to the article in the comments.
Surprise surprise, I’m going to side with responsive web design on this one.
It’s great that you also pointed out that responsive design /is/ an option, so kudos to you for at least putting up a somewhat fair argument.
Your statement “The mobile consumer is usually on the go” is flawed though. There is no way of knowing what a user accessing the web on a mobile device is doing at the time. Most often for me it’s in bed, on the couch or sitting at a cafe waiting for clients.
A lot of users are frustrated when accessing a website via their mobile phone only to find that the content they found on their desktop doesn’t exist, and that urls that they click on via a twitter link on the phone redirects to a 404 page or the .mobi home page.
If companies can afford to run two separate websites with two sets of content the all for the mobile specific website, but I would recommend building the other site responsively to cater for the many devices that aren’t mobile and the hundreds that are on the drawing board.Check out the work that @brad_frost ,@lukew , @bencallahan and @beep are doing.