What is the difference between mobile friendly and responsive websites?

At the moment, one of the most common requests that we are receiving these days is for responsive website development. That in itself is a good thing because there are some really amazing benefits to opting for a responsive site.

However, while this also seems to be a typical area for creating confusion, we will start out by sharing some of the most frequent misconceptions we run into when we are talking with clients about mobile-friendly and responsive websites.

It is important to note that only responsive websites work on mobile devices and every website really needs to be responsive for the sake of your business. A mobile-friendly website is a good example of a responsive website. But what do “responsive” and “mobile-friendly really mean?

Mobile Friendly and Responsive Websites

Responsive Design

A responsive website is a website that will respond or change based upon the specific needs of its users and their devices that they are in use. Here, images and text will change from the three-column layout into a single column look. Images that are unnecessary are then hidden so that they do not interfere or cause competition with the important information on the website’s smaller display.

If you are using a computer, you will be able to tell if a site is responsive by bringing down your browser’s window size from full screen to super small. If the appearance of the text, menu and images change as you make the screen smaller, then the site is considered to be responsive.

The main features of responsive websites:

Dynamic, changing content
Optimized images
Condensed navigation
Correct spacing and padding
Reliant on a mobile operation system to fully function

Mobile-friendly Design

A mobile-friendly website is a website that is designed to operate the exact same way across all devices. This means that there won’t be anything that changes or anything that is unusable on mobile devices or computers.

Features such as drop-downs for navigation are limited. This is because they can be difficult to use on a mobile device. No flash animation will be used. The website is basically the same all around the board, with no concerns regarding usability no matter which device is being using for viewing.

Main features of mobile-friendly:

Content does not change
Navigation is simple
Images are smaller
Not reliant on mobile operating systems to work properly

Mobile Friendly and Responsive Websites

How to know which is best for you?

You can think of going responsive if:

– A large amount of your traffic is coming from mobile devices – at least 35%
– Your site content is complex or has features that are hard to use on a mobile
– You have plans for a long term site and want it to be up to date


Think about going mobile-friendly if:
– You do not have a big mobile audience – less than 35%
– You have a simple site
– You have small image sizes that allow for quick loading over mobile usage

As business owners, we understand the unique challenges Australian business owners face. Talk to us today if you are interested in our expert web design services. Professional Web Solutions provides a range of web design services to West Australian Business owners.