Sharing with One Web: How to Avoid Mobile Dead Ends

Responsive design is quickly gaining recognition as the dominant approach to building new websites. With good reason too: a responsive design workflow is a fantastic way to build tailored web experiences for any screen size and resolution. Considering that 830 different screen sizes were detected in the second quarter of 2012, responsive design would appear to be a simple answer to the question of how websites can be optimized for mobile use.

Disney’s responsive website automatically adjusts to fit any screen size. Image via Synecore.

Disney’s responsive website automatically adjusts to fit any screen size. Image via Synecore.

Responsive design is the manifestation of the “One Web” philosophy. This notion is based on the belief that a website should have one URL regardless of what technology people use to access it. Proxy solutions, such as mdot and tdot websites, are no longer needed to provide a mobile experience because a responsive design changes for any screen size. You can now have your cake and eat it too!

Sharing is huge on mobile devices. At Mobify, we are fierce advocates of the One Web approach for a number of reasons. One of the most obvious, particularly for e-commerce businesses, is the sharing implications. We’ve all seen something we loved online, copied the link and shared with our networks via email or social media channels.

So how does the One Web approach factor into the sharing equation? Google says, “90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV,” so let’s say you view a product online via your smartphone and decide to tweet the link to your followers. If the retailer in question is using a proxy site, your followers accessing that link from a desktop or tablet will be directed to the m-dot site and a site designed for a 3.5 inch screen will load on their 24 inch monitors. This results in a website that appears distorted and wrong. We call this a mobile dead end.

A mobile Twitter page when accessed on a desktop.

A mobile Twitter page when accessed on a desktop.

Essentially it is a broken experience of the brand and product for the web visitor. More often than not, when users access pages intended for different screen sizes, they immediately hit the X at the top corner of the screen rather than sticking around to explore and share products more.

When it comes to sharing, the traditional multi-screen approach fails. Responsive design and, by extension, the One Web approach not only works for smartphones and tablets of today, but can future-proof your website for the unimagined screens of tomorrow so customers can keep spreading the love of your content to their social networks.

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