WHAT IS RESPONSIVE DESIGN?
If you’ve been in the position to decide what to do with your website, you’ve likely heard of a responsive design. With a responsively designed website, your website will adapt to the size of the viewing window. Depending on where a website visitor is viewing your website from, the only major changes will be in the design of the website. The content of the website will remain the same across each device.
No HTML changes, only CSS. With no changes to your website’s overall structure, the experience for website visitors will be the same between desktops and mobile devices. The only changes made will be in the site’s style sheet as it recognizes the different device types.
Less expensive to create. Responsive designs, as they don’t call for a new site structure to be created, are often less expensive and less time-consuming to create and update. This has been a big draw for many businesses across the country.
It’s tied to your main site. When your main (desktop) website is down, your mobile website will be down as well.
Mobile styling can take time. While the process to create a responsive website is quick, getting styling right can take time, as not every styling option will cooperate when switching between large and small screens.
WHAT IS DYNAMIC SERVING?
Similar to responsive design, dynamic serving websites utilize only one URL for each device that searches for your website. The big difference with dynamic serving is that the HTML structure of your website will vary on a device-by-device basis. The reason for this is that depending on the device that a website visitor may be using, the experience will be different. Certain content will be shown in one place but not another.
The advantage of this design is that files like videos that are too large to fit on a mobile device correctly can be removed. The same goes for written content. If you’re trying to drive mobile users to specific places on your website, dynamic serving allows you to specify what users of each device will see depending on the HTML that each website is built upon.
Unique experience delivered per device. With less showing up on your mobile site, it could possibly help it run smoother, giving mobile visitors the chance to quickly navigate your website, which in turn could convince them to keep coming back.
Only one URL. This is an important piece of making the experience positive for website visitors. With only one URL, visitors don’t need to remember if your website is the same as the desktop or if they need to type m.yoururl.com. The easier you make it on website visitors, the better.
It’s an expensive choice. In contrast to responsive designs needing only a change in CSS, dynamic serving websites are individual websites built for specific devices. This means more time in development and additional work in the event that one site goes down.
May require a Vary HTTP header. With the use of a Vary HTTP header, ISPs are being told whether or not to serve a device with the cached version of your website. If this is forgotten or decided against, you could end up with mobile users being served with your desktop website, slowing down the viewing process and potentially losing them as a returning visitor.
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