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Should I have a separate mobile website or one website that is responsive to all screen sizes?

This is a common question many of my clients and students ask me.  The simple answer is that the baseline is a responsive website, especially if you are in the marketing and content distribution business.

However, the truth is a bit more complicated, because:

Today’s web landscape is sophisticated enough that no one strategy fits all scenarios.

For example, we at DesignCaffeine helped Oracle make their 50,000-page Oracle.com responsive. Although the size and amount of content presented a particular challenge (which required a few novel design patterns) Oracle.com is mainly a marketing site, so it was the natural strategy to adopt.

On the other hand, “working” sites like Amazon, LinkedIn and Twitter are still not mobile-responsive. And they may never get there, because they are what I call “working” sites — there is a great deal of interactivity on the page and the company naturally wants to rigidly control how the content will appear for maximum impact and conversion.

Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Google are part of what I call “divergent mobile strategies” because they are responsive only to a point. 

For example, Amazon.com is only responsive down to 997 pixels â€“ the width that comfortably supports the classic Apple iPad. 

So, do you feel that your site is a content and marketing site, with just a few separate social and ecommerce features? Or do you envision rich interactivity?  Your strategy should ultimately stem from those decisions.

Keep in mind that responsive is never easy or cheap. But whatever your approach, the important point is to actually have a mobile strategy, because:

If you do not have a mobile strategy, you do not have a  digital strategy.

Need some design guidance? Get in touch with me here.

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