Do you have a mobile version of your website?

December 12, 2011 / Updated: December 12, 2011 / Lena Shore

What does having a mobile version of your website mean?

You may have heard talk about having a “mobile friendly” or “mobile version” website design.

Mobile Friendly

A mobile friendly website design means that your website looks good on a mobile device such as an iPhone, Blackberry, or iPad. You would also want to avoid programming that would not work well on a mobile device, such as Flash.

Most smart phones are pretty, well, “smart” at showing your website the way they appear on a computer as long as your design was created with current website technologies. Your website is usually reduced to fit and can be zoomed in to read when needed.

Mobile Version

A mobile version of your site means that you have a specific web design that is triggered when your website is viewed from a mobile device. It happens automatically for the user. The goal of the design is to be easy to read on a mobile device. This may mean removing animations, dumbing down the navigation or removing excess design.

There are a couple of ways to implement this.

  • New design: Create a specific web design for your mobile device and instruct your website to see where the request is coming from so that it displays the correct version.
  • Tweak existing design: Tweak your current design so that it works better on mobile devices. If your site was created in the last couple of years, this might be a good option.
  • Add a plugin: If your website is on a content management system (like WordPress) there are some excellent and inexpensive plugins that will make it happen almost auto-magically.

So, what might it look like?

The first image is the My Two Cents front page on my iPhone without a mobile theme. The second image is a mobile theme being used. It’s not fancy, but easier to read.

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