14 Feb
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Mobile version or adaptive layout? Analyzing advantages and disadvantages

Web Development

Development of the mobile Internet and growth of the gadgets’ value make it necessary to adapt websites for smartphones and tablets. Convenience of using resources on a variety of devices has a direct impact on traffic, and therefore the companies, aimed at retention and a steady flow of customers, should take care of creating a lightweight version of their resource.

Programmers cope with this task in two ways: creation of a mobile version of the portal or developing adaptive layout of the finished site. Considering all the advantages and disadvantages of these methods, the owner of the info product can make conclusions on his own, which way he should choose.

Choice №1: mobile version

This method means creation of the copy of the existing portal, which is optimized for smartphones with different screen size. It can be performed on a folder, or what is much more common on the subdomain.

This method has its advantages, among which:

1. Low price. Creating a copy of the Internet portal, which will be viewed using different smartphones, will cost not as expensive as works on the adaptive design.

2. Fast loading. In order to speed up the loading of the info-product, even at the stage of its development, the existing content is optimized and heavy elements are removed.

3. Independent content management. This is especially important for the volume of structured platforms which contain large media files and texts. In this case, the design adaptation of each page for all kinds of electronic gadgets will be more difficult than the creation of their individual platforms and content cuts.

The disadvantages of this method include:

1. The costs growth. Both of the portals exist independently one from another: a change in the primary domain does not affect the additional resources, and vice versa. This means that the owner will have to double the spending on promotion and content of both sites.

2. Competition of versions. In spite of the same content and different addresses, the sites may displace each other in the search results for identical queries for a long time, until search engines randomly choose one of them. It calls affiliation and is the main difficulty in the promotion of info-products.

In order to avoid such a situation, search engines recommend to use the tag rel = «canonical», and leave on all pages of the optimized portal link to the similar page of the main domain.

To place the same references in reverse order, use the tag rel = “alternate”.

These actions require more time and effort, but paying themselves off by absence of problems with the search engines.

3. Two domain names. Visitors do not just remember the address of the new resource, and therefore go to the main portal using different gadgets. It’s connected with the fact that the reference to an optimized portal is not always visible.

Choice №2: adaptive design

This method involves optimizing menu and portal design for viewing at any technique. The new version of the resource will have the same content as the main, the html-code will also remain unchanged, and the content will be clearly visible at the screen of any size.

Advantages of the method

1. A single domain, which solves various problems of promotion:

• users do not need to remember two domain names or spend time, searching for the correct reference to the adapted platform;

• thanks to the fact that the promotion of one virtual product automatically entails improving the position of the other, there’s no need to be afraid of accretion of the main domain and subdomain;

• the owner saves money on the text design, because both of the portals have the same content.

2. The ability to adapt the info-product for any gadgets. Mobile version of the web product allows optimizing the resource just for the screens of smartphones. In contrast to this method, adaptive layout covers all the main devices (netbooks and tablets).

Disadvantages of the method

Slow download speeds. It’s connected with the retention of all heavy elements of the main site, which inhibit opening of the pages. Due to the fact that most users value their time, they can’t wait for the download and leave the site.

Single content. This factor is considered to be both advantages and disadvantages. It is positive for the owners of the site, making it possible to save time and money, but it is inconvenient for users, because it bears functional complexity and overabundance of information, dispensable in this version.

Significant development costs. Price of the adaptive layout exceeds the cost of the creation of the mobile version, and increases proportionally to growth of the resource complexity. It’s connected with the fact that the programmers have to optimize the site for the screens of different devices.

It is considered that the future is for the adaptive layout: it is ideal for standard sites and gives more opportunities. At the same time, if the mobile and the main versions of the site are aimed at solving different problems, it is better to use exactly this method of optimization.

Choosing any of the methods, owners can be sure that their business wouldn’t suffer as a result of the decision. Both of the methods will help to achieve its goal – namely, to increase mobile traffic and the influx of visitors.

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