Is a responsive website always the right solution?

Increasingly the web design community is turning to responsive design, but where does that leave separate mobile websites? Are they a thing of the past?

Before responsive design, the only option we had for making websites compatible with mobile devices was a separate mobile site. These were expensive to build and created various maintenance headaches, but were they entirely inferior?

Mobile websites allow you a greater ability to customise the content and structure for mobile users. Admittedly some argue that the content delivered to mobile devices should be identical, but there is no doubt that occasionally some customisation would be useful.

So my question for you is do mobile websites have a place? Or put in terms of our debate series…

This house proposes that where budgets allow organisations should create a separate mobile website instead of relying on responsive design.

Do you agree? If money is no object would you recommend a separate mobile site for a client or would you stick with a responsive website? Let me know in the comments below.

Have your say

  • richarddale

    I definitely think mobile sites have their place. Many of the sites I built prior to RWD, static sites that view great on desktop and tablet. Its only when you get down to smart phone size that things start to break down. For many of these sites a mobile specific site would probably work better than a RWD site where I could be more focused and target the medium specifically.

    I did a RWD e-commerce website recently and although the end results were good, trying to get the shopping basket working and looking correct whilst being responsive was a nightmare and I couldn’t help but think that a mobile specific site would have been a better solution. When I browse the web using my iPad Air I never visit a fix width website and think this is a poor user experience why don’t they have a RWD site. I ony ever think this when on my iPhone.

  • sanedevil

    I am not a web designer, but have a team that is building one for me. So in trad way, I have to have a “web designer” design the site in Photoshop which is then handed to “web developer” to generate code.

    You can imagine there are several problems w this – time, costs, rework, code doesn’t do what the design shows etc.

    I hit upon your blog while thinking if there are tools that would eliminate the design-to-code step

    I very much agree w the house and would love to know the process and tools to help achieve this.

  • David R

    The simple answer is yes, a website must be responsive and also Google is focusing more on responsive websites, a static design
    web development firm still works OK in most cases when you have separate mobile friendly website.