Responsive website or mobile specific website? What do you need?

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Tourism-Mobile-Revolution_enMobile is offering the biggest shift and growth opportunity we have seen since the birth of the world-wide-web. Twenty percent of travel is researched via a mobile device and surveys indicate that this number will grow to 50 percent in just over a year.

And, distinguishing the difference between a mobile specific site, a responsive site and an app is important, as these are different.

Apps are custom-made applications that your customers need to download onto their smart phone to use.

Mobile websites are accessed on the web browser of a mobile phone. Learning the different types of mobile sites available along with the pros and cons of each can help you confidently choose the best option for your business.

1."Honey I shrunk the website": This mobile site is a copy of your desktop website, but has been resized for a mobile, often without some of the design elements that make a website easy to use and appealing. A piece of code is added to your site, and detects the screen size and reformats accordingly.

Pros: Usually the least expensive option and the resizing code can be added to most desktop websites.

Cons: A reformatted version can be unwieldy on a mobile where information is needed quickly and easily and design elements that are lost can impact badly on your brand and the user's experience.

2. Fully responsive site: If you are about to launch both a new desk top website and a mobile site, then you can consider a fully responsive design as an option. This approach means building a website which responds and displays information optimised for a variety of screen sizes.

Pros: Your customers get all the information from your main website; you have only one URL and only one site to update for both web and mobile.

Cons: Slower to download, usually more expensive than a mobile specific site, and you will need to plan carefully knowing what your business and your customers needs are since this is a big investment and you are creating a presence for all platforms at once.

3. Mobile specific site: A mobile specific site is one designed to take advantage of being on a mobile device and provide information users would require 'on the go.' For tourism businesses, location information or directions, 'click to call' buttons and a mobile friendly booking functionality are important features.

Pros: Your site is truly focused on engaging with mobile users, not just accommodating them.

Cons: You have a separate site to develop and maintain, even if they share content.

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