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The Pros And Cons Of Optimizing For Mobile

The results are inline with what I expected. The audience here is made of bloggers and tech-savvy people, so it’s natural that a high percentage of them use mobile devices to browse the web regularly.

What encouraged me to run that poll was an email from a reader complaining about the lack of a mobile version of my website. In a way I wanted more data before making a decision.

So will I create a mobile friendly version now that I have some numbers? Probably no, and that is because I still think the cons of doing so out-weight the pros. Consider that a mobile version of a blog is usually a screen which displays only the content of the posts, much like an RSS reader. The pros of using it are:

  • The user can read your latest posts more easily.
  • The readability is better.
  • The pages might load faster.

And the cons:

  • It becomes harder to find content other than the latest posts.
  • The branding/visual aspect is lost.
  • The user has less control regarding how to navigate the site.
  • The user won’t see parts of your website that might be important (e.g., ads, subscription forms and so on)

If your website is relatively clean, though, and you consider that most smartphones are coming out with decent screen resolutions, you’ll see that the pros of using a mobile friendly version become less important.

For instance, many readers commented that this site displays fine on the iPhone 4, and that they don’t have problems reading the content or browsing around.

So in my opinion optimizing for the early mobile devices could have made a big difference (i.e., 2-3 years ago), but there weren’t many people using them anyway, so you could skip it. These days there are a lot more people accessing the Internet via mobile devices, but most of these devices feature good screen resolutions, allowing the users to browse websites normally. As a result, optimizing for mobile might not be that important anymore.

This is true for content based websites, at least. For service oriented ones (e.g., a social network or an online store) mobile optimization might be more critical.


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