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In this fast-paced world of smartphone technology, a truly functional website must be easily viewable on a wide variety of platforms. Content, applications, and websites must translate effectively to the smaller screen sizes of mobile technology that includes smartphones, tables, laptops, and netbook computers. However, mobile-friendly design involves much more than just shrinking the conventional desktop version to a smaller scale. While consumers often consider mobile-friendly content, apps, and websites to be more user-friendly, developers must first design around certain limitations and constraints associated with this technology.
Mobile-friendly vs. Responsive Design
There are common misconceptions regarding the differences or similarities of mobile-friendly design vs. responsive design. Responsive content, applications, and websites adapt to fit the uniquely-sized screens of individual mobile devices. Meanwhile, mobile-friendly alternatives offer static content that appears nearly identical on the screen regardless of the mobile device. Other key features of each style of design include:
Key Features of Responsive Design
• Dynamic content that adapts to different sized screens
• Condensed navigational menus
• Optimized touch pad sizing and spacing
• Reliant on mobile operating systems
• Optimized images
Key Features of Mobile-Friendly Design
• Static content remains relatively unchanged, regardless of the mobile device
• Simplified navigational features
• Smaller image displays
• Not reliant on mobile operating systems
As is evident from these brief descriptions, most people prefer viewing content, applications, and websites that are “responsive” compared to those that are simply “mobile-friendly.” As a result, responsive design is the preferred choice among experienced developers.
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