Mobile Sites Versus Responsive Design for Medical Practices
One of the current hot button issues in Medical Web Design is whether it is better to go with a separate site for mobile users (commonly referred to as m dot sites – ex: http://m.yourdomain.com) or use Responsive Design to simultaneously optimize for all device sizes. While mobile sites are specifically enhanced for smaller devices, they come with a few drawbacks. Since mobile sites are entirely new sites to build and maintain, there are increased time and monetary costs to be considered. From a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) standpoint, duplicate content on two domains can hurt your search rankings. Likewise, on a technical level, detecting mobile devices can also be problematic, leading to lost leads from confused visitors. Ever try to follow a link on a phone, only to be redirected to the m dot site’s homepage? Frustrating inconsistencies such as link sharing and redirects can end up losing valuable visitors.
Responsive design’s answer to these problems is to make a website automatically adapt to different screen sizes, without the need for a separate version of the site. This approach doesn’t rely on sniffing for specific devices, so no adjustment is needed for the next technological wunderkind; the site is essentially “future-proof.” The trade-off with responsive design, however, is that these sites are generally more difficult to code and design, as one must consider a wide array of possible factors to account for different screen sizes and options. Additionally, if page load is not optimized, slow load times can kill traffic.
|Mobile (m dot sites)|
|Easier and faster to create initially||One more site to manage|
|Enhanced for a specific experience||New mobile devices may not be identified correctly|
|Generally perform faster||Sharing links can be problematic|
|Duplicate content can hurt SEO|
|More budgetary costs|
|Only one site to edit – less maintenance/cost||Page weight and load times can be a concern|
|Covers more than just phones (Tablets work too!)||Can be more difficult to enhance for touch|
|Future-proof – covers yet-to-be-created devices||More difficult to code and design|
Currently, there is no one right answer. Depending on the problems being faced, one solution may be more viable than the other. While Google recommends responsive design over m dot sites, we at Omni Medical Marketing favor a balanced approach that examines the intended goal before determining a course of action. However, we do expect responsive design to become a huge force in medical website design, so we have made investments in employing the best, cutting-edge techniques to create the finest possible experience for all of your website visitors. Contact us to see how we can better tailor your website to your audience.