“Responsive website”, “mobile website”, “mobile-ready website”. These are all terms that you’ve probably heard thrown around when referring to how your medical or dental website should be built so that it can be easily viewed from devices other than a desktop computer. We receive several emails a day asking about mobile and responsive websites, and it seems that many clients often mistake one term for the other, or even think they both mean the same thing. So let’s clear the air:
What is a Responsive Website?
A responsive website is specially built to adapt to various screen sizes across different devices. For example, if you were to pull up your website on a desktop computer and then pull up the same website on your smartphone, the site you see on your phone should be automatically scaled down to fit within the parameters of your device’s screen. If you are having to scroll left or right with your finger to view the full width of the content, or minimize the display so that you can see everything on the page then your site is not responsive. It should be automatically scaled and easily viewable from that mobile device. The overall design and layout will generally still match that of the desktop version, but it will be precisely adjusted so that no scrolling or zooming is necessary.
What is a Mobile Website?
A mobile website is not just a resized version of your desktop site, but rather a separate entity. Mobile websites are designed specifically for the mobile device and are entirely unique from their desktop counterpart. A mobile website is oftentimes a light version of your feature-packed desktop site but it’s designed in such a way to provide simple navigation and access to the most important features that a visitor would need on the fly when viewing from their mobile phone. For example, instead of having a robust menu with all of your company’s pages listed, your mobile site might contain only a few icons for the important information that one would need to quickly and easily access from their phone: About Us, Contact Information, Schedule an Appointment, Email, etc. Additionally, mobile websites are typically built on a separate URL (in most cases “mobile.yourwebsite.com”) and the user’s browser will automatically redirect to this URL when it sees that someone is trying to access your website from a mobile device.
Does my practice need a Responsive or Mobile Site?
As the smartphone and tablet industry continues to grow, it’s important to study user interaction with these devices and decide how to best position your practice in the digital space. Studies indicate that nearly one-third of all web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets and the growth rate of these mobile device users will only continue to inflate. If your practice currently has an outdated website that is difficult to view or navigate on a mobile device, then visitors may become frustrated and leave. Investing in a responsive or mobile website could help your practice convert these mobile device visitors into patients by simplifying the experience and making it easy for them to contact you.
Streamlining the experience for mobile visitors can also help leverage your practice’s social interaction. A recent study shows that an average of 38 Million Americans use their mobile devices for social networking each day, and more and more users interacting with brands and organizations than ever before. A properly designed mobile or responsive site should work hand-in-hand with your practice’s social media marketing efforts to help drive traffic and increase patient engagement.
If you would like to learn more about responsive and mobile websites for your practice, please contact us. Med Media offers free comprehensive evaluations of your website’s mobile traffic to determine which strategy is best for you.