Many clients ask us if they need a mobile website (for smartphones and tablets) to go along with their desktop site. The short answer is yes. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to navigate a desktop-only website on your smartphone. Many users simply give up.

Beyond the user-friendly aspect of a responsive site, mobile internet usage is only going to increase. By 2020, 3.84 billion will have access to the mobile internet, meaning they’ll go online using a tablet or smartphone, according to a PwC study. There’s no question that you should have your website optimized for mobile users. This will ensure your web marketing is more future-proof.

Depending on how much you want to customize your tablet or mobile experience, the initial cost and time invested might be a bit more (although not much more). By optimizing for mobile, you are giving yourself an advantage over many of your competitors.

Mobile development: what to consider

When developing for a mobile device, the developer has to consider some of the issues that come along with mobile website development. Some of these issues include: the small size of the screen, the number of devices out there, the slower processor speed, the fact that people use their thumbs or fingers to navigate, and many other factors.

A mobile website can be developed as a separate site or as an alteration of a current site. For the best user experience, it is better to have just one site. If the user accesses the site on a mobile device, the browser will detect the screen size and automatically modify the site to be a mobile friendly version. This is what we call responsive design and development.

When interviewing web development companies, ask to see their responsive sites on a desktop, tablet and smartphone.