Does it cost more for a mobile website?

Mobile or “Responsive” web design (RWD) is an approach to designing a flexible, yet optimal experience for a single website across diverse mobile and desktop devices. The goals of responsive design is to build a site that flawlessly re-organizes itself to provide simple, yet functional  and intuitive readability and navigation regardless of the screen size or orientation. Typically, RWD frameworks are based on a grid system that modularly responds to the device screen size.

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A mobile responsive website is not the same thing as a mobile application. A mobile app is downloaded to a specific mobile device and then may link to online databases to update information. The cost for developing a mobile app is quite different. Most businesses don’t need a mobile app. The majority of business communication needs can be handled by a well-designed mobile responsive website.

How much does it cost to transition from a regular website to a mobile website?

If you already have a non-mobile website (desktop version), then you’re halfway there because you’ve already got your design and content figured out. All a developer will have  to do is to rebuild your website in responsive code. This will require migrating all of your content and design to a new website framework. The final cost will depend on how complex your website is and how difficult it is to rebuild it in a new framework.

If you originally spent $10,000 on your website, expect to pay about the same amount, possibly a bit less, to rebuild it in a responsive website. Although the costs are similar, the result is a more powerful, multi-functional website.

Costs would include:

  • Strategy for the responsive site
  • Redesign for responsive sizes
  • Programming
  • Migrating content
  • Testing on devices
  • SEO: 301 redirects, etc., if required.

What will my mobile site look like?

The look-and-feel of your mobile website will depend on the responsive template you select as well as the decisions about what’s vital to show users. You will have to be selective for the small screen. For example, you may want to hide certain images or text on a mobile phone format because it isn’t critical information and just gets in the way of the user experience on a small screen. Do visitors browsing on a phone really need access to your newsletter archive from 2011?

Part of optimizing design and function for mobile browsers is to minimize text and maximize buttons, graphics, and images. Tablet design is part of the process now too. Tablets vary, but many are 780 pixels wide, while a phone display is often 320 pixels wide. We also consider what happens when the user is web surfing with the device in landscape mode, as opposed to a vertical or portrait mode. This effort of optimizing design for multiple aspect ratios and orientations adds up to a higher cost than a desktop-only website.

See samples of our mobile portfolio here.

Hosting adds another potential cost. Your hosting service may not work for a responsive website. If this is the case, you may have to upgrade or change hosting companies,  but this is usually a minor additional cost.

If you don’t have a website yet at all,  then an initial definition phase will be required to come up with the functional requirements, UX strategy and final visual designs before programming the site in responsive code. This will be add approximately 30% – 40% to the total budget.

It’s possible that a responsively designed website is not critical to your business. It’s not yet an industry standard in some fields, such as segments of the manufacturing, medical and financial industries, but more and more, mobile devices are making inroads in all sectors, and eventually you’ll be left behind if your website does not present well across platforms.

Content is still king, as they say. The most vital thing you can is present your content optimized for all devices, so that you can reach all of your potential and current customers, wherever they live. You risk alienating potential customers if they have a substandard experience with your website on a mobile device. And they may hold it against you for not keeping current.

In the near future, we will also have to accommodate for other browser types, like Google Glass and the myriad of smart-watch devices still in development.

Contact Executionists to find out how much it will cost to get your website mobile responsive.

by admin
Posted: August 19, 2014