Mobile Friendly vs. Mobile Optimized vs. Responsive Design

Mobile Friendly vs. Mobile Optimized vs. Responsive Design
In the pursuit of making the website an indivisible part of the mobile web, everyone wants to make it either mobile friendly, optimized, or responsive. But before making any decision, here's what you need to know about each option.
Akshay Kulkarni
Last Updated: Sep 7, 2020
Mobile Users
In 2014, the online world realized the importance of the mobile web, as the number of mobile users on the Internet surpassed the desktop ones. Since then, mobile users are solely dominating the world wide web. Here are some stats to emphasize on this fact:
  • Since 2010, mobile traffic has skyrocketed by 192.5%.
  • 4 out of 5 users prefer smartphones to shop.
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.
  • 94% of consumers use online resources to research products/services before making a purchase.
As the mobile era has dawned upon the Internet, now more stronger than ever, it’s imperative that every publisher must concentrate on pleasing the mobile user. And to do that there are three best practices available, which can make their website; mobile friendly, mobile optimized, or responsive.
Mobile Friendly
Mobile friendly websites are basically desktop sites which are usable regardless of what device it’s viewed on. These websites doesn’t change or evolve according to the device that’s being used.

Even if they pass the mobile friendliness test by Google, these mobile friendly websites do not provide the user’s with the best mobile viewing experience as compared to the mobile optimized and responsive designs.
Mobile Optimized
Mobile optimized websites are specifically designed for mobiles. As the name suggests, they are optimized for all kinds of mobile devices and tablets. Mobile optimized means that the website will reformat accordingly to fit any mobile screen.

To enhance the mobile user experiences, these websites incorporate varying navigation button sizes, reformatted content, and specifically optimized images according to various handheld devices. These sites make the navigation easier for the user by providing 'thumb friendly' design, instead of the traditional 'cursor friendly' design.
Responsive Design
Responsive design is a method of developing websites which are completely flexible regardless of the device that's being used. These websites 'respond' to the size of screen of the device. The entire site as a whole is reformatted and reoptimized to make a website responsive.

Responsive sites possess dynamic content that changes, optimized images, right spacing based on the device, and are dependent on mobile OS for functionality. To see if a website is responsive, on the desktop, simply shrink or expand the browser window and observe whether or not the display changes to match the window size.
There is no correct option for which design you should choose, as it depends on the purpose and audience group of your website. However, you can never go wrong with the responsive design, as it makes your website compatible to all kind of devices with retaining the easy-to-navigate user experience.

Make your website responsive with Visual Stories. With Visual Stories, your website will be optimized for speed, mobile and search engine rankings. It'll harness the latest of web technologies, like AMP and PWA. You can even add visually engaging Web Stories to your site. Its design will be responsive and compatible with all devices.