In general, opinion tends to come down in favour of responsive design. For instance, Jen Looper in her post “Responsive Design vs m. Sites” adds further cons to the list against separate mobile sites:
- Maintaining large staffs of developers and ensuring data coherence between two front-end codebases and, presumably, one backend system present maintenance nightmares
- This schizophrenic web-to-mobile presence might be damaging to your brand if a user becomes confused because the site on their iPhone looks completely different from the site on their desktop
On the other side of the argument, back in May 2012 Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group wrote in “Repurposing Vs Optimised Design that: “It's cheap but degrading to reuse content and design across diverging media forms like print vs. online or desktop vs. mobile.”
This to us looks like an argument from the past in more ways than one. We can see nothing “degrading” about reusing content in the interests of consistency, practicality and for reaping potential SEO benefits.
Nevertheless, while we strongly advocate responsive website design for most business requirements, there are situations where separate mobile sites might be a better option. For instance, in BBI Brandboost’s website section on Mobile Website Design we make the following observation: “When websites supply information such as locations and costs - mobile website design is ideally structured for people who need answers fast rather than those researching for general information.”
So the decision on whether to go the responsive website design route or set up separate sites for desktops and mobiles very much depends on:
- The type and sector of a business
- Budget and administration resources
- Targets in the marketplace and whether they naturally would use mobiles or desktops for research
- Reliance on organic SEO to gain customers and increase public awareness
With many years of experience in both website development and marketing communications, BBI Brandboost can help you make these decisions from an independent and unbiased perspective.