December 3, 2012 — By Dale Mugford
IT’S ALL ABOUT SPEED, MR PRESIDENT
Server-side Mobile Solutions versus Responsive Design
VANCOUVER—U.S. President Barack Obama would have a better chance of meeting his May 2013 deadline of ensuring Americans are able to access government information on their mobile devices if he used a different method of delivering mobile content. That’s according to the developers of two of the most popular mobile solutions in the open source community—BraveNewCode and Mobile Joomla!—who say that using responsive design rather than server-side mobile solutions just doesn’t make sense for high-traffic, large-volume sites.
Many recently launched or redesigned sites use responsive design including President Obama’s campaign website, BBC and Time Magazine. So why do top internet brands like Google, Facebook and Yahoo use server-side mobile solutions? One answer, quite simply, is speed. If the average mobile user is only willing to wait a maximum of four seconds for content to load on their devices, it is illogical to use an approach that may slow down your site’s loading time.
“Responsive design is like going on a warm-weather vacation and bringing your ski wear, winter jacket, and business attire with you just in case,” explains Mobile Joomla’s Founder Ugur Kaner. “With responsive design, all of the content and assets for phones, tablets and desktop computers are delivered— whether the requesting device needs them or not. This means sites become larger and unfortunately deliver slower experiences,” explains Kaner.
“Server-side solutions leverage the benefits of detecting mobile device types like phones and tablets before sending anything,” says BraveNewCode Co-founder Dale Mugford, whose company develops the most popular mobile solution for WordPress called WPtouch. “Instead of trying to modify and deliver large-screen desktop web experiences for small-screen mobile devices, server-side solutions send unique, streamlined experiences tailored specifically for smartphones or tablets. The result is a fast, flexible and dependable mobile-optimized web experience.”
Mobile web pages powered by server-side solutions are up to 500% smaller than their desktop counterparts, and have been shown to load up to 400% faster than web pages not using a server-side mobile solution. Responsive design, on the other hand, is often implemented using only client-side adjustments to web pages. This means that both desktop computers and mobile devices always download an entire web page, along with its added code for handling formatting on multiple devices and screen sizes.
Server-side solutions can be powered by easy-to-use and user-friendly tools, such as Mobile Joomla! for the Joomla! platform, and BraveNewCode’s WPtouch for the WordPress platform. As an additional benefit, to provide efficient and reliable mobile experiences, site owners who choose these solutions don’t need to invest large amounts of resources in design or maintenance, and can instead focus on content and strategy.
Go here to view an infographic with supporting statistics.
Additional press resources including our white paper, visuals and a podcast on this same subject can be found here.
Joyce Peralta, Community Specialist, BraveNewCode, joyce [at] bravenewcode.com