Use of the mobile web has dramatically increased in recent years, so much that smartphone sales have become bigger than PC sales. In 2012, about 28% of internet usage came from mobile phones, and 62% of smartphone users went online with their phone every day. In 2011, $241 billion in transactions were completed on mobile devices. Within the next five years, this amount is expected to reach $1.3 trillion.
It’s also important to note that consumers who access information on a business through the mobile web are often more likely to take action that those searching on a computer. Of smartphone users who used their device to look up a local business, 88% took action - called, visited, commented, or wrote a review - within 24 hours.
Google has already announced their support of the mobile web, declaring themselves a Mobile First Company in 2010. This means that they now design and test their websites and tools on mobile devices before they are even designed on computers. Even more interesting is the fact that Google doesn’t have to design a separate site once the mobile one is designed and finished. 3 years ago if you told someone that you wanted to design and test their mobile website before the desktop site, they would think you were crazy!
They have shifted their focus to Responsive Design, which allows the website to detect and adjust to the size of the screen for whatever device it’s displayed on. The same content will appear regardless of the device, but it will be shifted around the screen so it appears clean and easy to read on any screen. Many companies resist the conversion to responsive design because it requires more specialized coding and can be expensive, but it’s worth it. Google prefers the use of responsive design to their because the website would only serve the same exact HTML to everyone that sees the website. Don't worry, this actually makes your life as a website owner easier.
So why not make an app?
Making a website app is very expensive and to make it work well on every device even more expensive. Not to mention people only want to install apps they actually use on a regular basis. If you have a website that is visited on an infrequent basis, your investment is better spent on a responsive website...or if you still prefer to keep them separate, an HTML5 mobile website companion.
Take this example to put it in perspective: Mashable was accessed by more than 2,500 different types of devices in one month, many of which wouldn’t have been able to view their site without the benefits of Responsive design. Without it, they might have needed hundreds of different apps and constant updates to stay compatible with all these devices, a task that is likely much more expensive. Yes, that is Mashable, an extremely popular website, but it just puts into perspective the amount if different devices that people use on a regular basis.
Other Reasons Responsive Design is Great
Responsive design also comes with other benefits, such as quicker loading time and easier access for search engines. Because you only need a single URL, it’s easier for users to interact with and share your content, and you’re less likely to have redirection errors. And it's no secret that most people are short on time. Using responsive design you only have to manage 1 piece of content...not separate content for your main website and mobile website. That will make anyone that is responsible for their website a happy person.
To learn more about the Mobile Web and Responsive Design, visit the site!