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How to decide if you need a responsive or mobi site: an illustrated guide

Talking about digital marketing we generally recognise mobile is king, but with the many different options available in the mobile game, it remains an arena where many are confused about what will work best for them.

Most recently, when looking to cater for mobile users, the question of whether it is best to switch over to responsive design as opposed to developing a separate mobi site has increasingly come to the fore.

Before detailing how best to decide which route to take, let’s start with the main difference between responsive design and a mobi site.

A mobi site is developed with how the site will function and appear on small-screen devices as its core consideration. To have a presence for both mobile and desktop, you therefore need to develop separate individual code bases – one for your mobi site and one for your desktop website.

Responsive design, seeking to rectify this, is based on the principle of a single front-end codebase. This means the site gets resized to suit the viewing device’s screen dimensions. So whether you view the site on a smartphone, desktop computer, plasma TV, or tablet, you get the same basic experience across all devices.

Here are the primary differences between responsive design and a mobi site:


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With just a single code base for all the various mobile devices available to consumers, it may then seem that the best option would be responsive design.

But there are questions you need to consider before reaching this conclusion.


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At the agency I work at, we believe there is no right or wrong answer in the responsive design vs. mobi site debate. A separate mobi site offers increased control and freedom, which is good to have but not imperative. On the other hand, a responsive site is most cost efficient, but comes with limitations.

Ultimately the decision depends on what you want to achieve against your given variables.

Author | Lizané Connoway

Lizané Connoway
Long distance running and travelling make Lizané tick. But her greatest fulfilment lies with creating things. More specifically, with the fusion of artistry and technical brilliance that produce original, quality, digital work. Over her 13 year career, she's journeyed from a long period of being a freelance consultant, to... More
  • iNetGlobalSolutions

    Great article on responsive vs mobi site!