Cross-platform Responsive Designs or Standalone Mobile Versions- Which One is Better and Why

Today, eCommerce industry has come a long way and it continues to grow as more and more customers buy products online. With the aid of profit, online retailers should be discreet enough in deciding their marketing expenses and select the one which generates maximum revenue and also boost their visitors confidence.

The online retailers have understood the fact that to market their product successfully, it’s crucial to reach their audience beyond the level of fixdth width of resolutions of smaller devices. Today, almost every owner wants responsive as well as mobile version of their website for the benefit of gaining more visitors from their competitors.

So, being a merchant what would be your approach or strategy to present your website to your buyers? How would you plan to make your products easily accessible to your customers? In the midst of such intense competition, these questions have become really crucial, and the obvious answers that one can expect is by having a responsive design or a standalone mobile version of your website.

Before we start comparing the pros and cons of the two aspects, let’s discuss in brief the meaning of these two terminologies:

1. What is a Responsive Design

Responsive web design is an approach which aims at creating a website that responds to a user’s behavior and device environment based on screen size, resolutions, platform and orientation. The design effectively uses flexible grids and layouts along with a logical use of CSS media queries. And, as the user switches from one device to another, the website automatically adjusts itself as per the device’s specifications.

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2. What is a Mobile Theme

A mobile theme is a smaller and lighter version of your main website. The version is designed to cater the needs of tablets and Smartphones. Mobile themes have the least amount of content and a completely different look and feel to suit the device requirements.


Responsive Design Vs Mobile Theme- Pros and Cons

1. From Developers Point of View

  • E-commerce websites like Magentowhich use a myriad of extensions for product viewing, zooming, color palette etc., having a mobile version is not suitable, and even if you want to integrate these extensions, it would be more like reinventing the wheel as you have to start creating everything from the scratch.

Do this Instead- create a responsive design by using third-party extensions

  • For those owners, who have preexisting online store and do not require so many changes and constant upgradations, Mobile version is certainly the right choice. In these kinds of websites, creating a responsive website is far more difficult and time consuming.

2. From SEO Point of View

Depending upon the website, when you use reponsive theme, you’ll have a single version of your website, single domain, URLs, and pages, which run seamlessly across varied platforms, and thus direct your visitors.

But when you use mobile versions, you are exposed to three following approaches:

  • you’ll need to create a separate subdomain for your mobile theme to redirect your visitors such as
  • Need to create separate folders for all the mobile visitors
  • You’ll need to show same URLs but with different CSS or layout files
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If you choose to go with the above mentioned approaches, then there are certain issues like content duplications that you might need to deal with. To cope up the situation, your team of developers will need to generate custom codes and ensure that it highlights the originality of all the URLs.

However, there is a yet another approach, which is better and somewhere equally effective as reponsive theme. The approach uses the same optimized content for your website across all platforms, although, not all e-commerce websites are better equipped to do that.

The Verdict

From all the above mentioned points, it’s clear that the tide is heavily tilted in the favor of responsive design and that make it too easy choice for online owner to opt for, no matter how much high costs involved in implementing the same. Vested with graceful notes, responsive web design is certainly a promising tool that prevents you from the consequences of losing your customers by serving both website as well as mobile users.

Author Signature: Danial Wright is a blogger cum Magento Developer with a vast experience in web developement. Presently, he is employed with Magentax Ltd, a Custom Magento development company. He used to write information rich content about web design and development.


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