Mobile-Friendly, Mobile-Optimization and Responsive Design. What is what and how does it affect the user experience (UX)?

Tourist product bookings are increasingly distributed via mobile device. The companies in the sector, therefore, are committed to improving the navigation of their websites when this is done through the mobile technology of smartphones.
In this article we are going to clarify some concepts that, although they may seem to be used interchangeably, are quite different. We will solve the following questions:


  • What is a mobile-friendly or compatible web?
  • What is a web optimized for mobile (mobile-optimization)?
  • What is Responsive Design?
  • What are your differences?
  • What is the best strategy for my website?


Mobile-Friendly Webs: mere compatibility with smartphones

Google search rankings now emphasize and reward sites suitable for mobile devices. Many thinks that this level of adaptability is enough, and for Google’s robots it is! But it is not necessarily so for visitors who come to your website. In summary, this is the minimum basic mobile design strategy that your website should have as a courtesy towards your visitors.
If you’re not sure if your website is compatible with mobile devices, then check out the Google webmaster tool. A website suitable for mobile devices is often a shortened version of the website that you see on a conventional desktop screen.

For example: as a general rule, your content should be written in a font of at least 14 or 16 points. It seems large, but when it is reduced, any smaller size will be almost impossible to read. Difficult to read ≠ suitable for mobile devices.

Websites compatible with mobile devices will work on smartphones, but these websites have been designed for desktop users. A smaller version of your desktop website may be relatively functional but its navigation, complicated … And this is where mobile optimization appears on the scene.

Mobile-Optimization: optimized Webs

All websites optimized for mobile devices are compatible with mobile devices, but not all webs suitable for mobile devices are optimized. Mobile optimization focuses on smartphone users; They are sites designed for smaller screens, which reformat the content thinking of mobile devices. They are not just a small version of the desktop website.
The design features of an optimized website can involve:

• Single column design
• Simple navigation, “friendly with the thumb”
• Large graphics, with blank borders, for users with large or clumsy fingers
• Formatted content for maximum readability
• Adapted to avoid writing as much as possible
• Image file sizes are smaller in the mobile version than those used for the desktop version (reducing faster load times).
• A smaller number of features in general (minimalist and orderly design)


Mobile users are much more likely to seek a quick response compared to desktop users, who perform more extensive searches on more complex issues.

The goal of a website optimized for smartphones is to make website navigation as friction-free as possible for the mobile user. Users of mobile devices are looking for the fastest and most efficient way to answer their questions. Mobile optimization aims to offer that speed and service.

Webs Responsive: contents that respond to each device

Websites with responsive design “respond” to the size of the screen of the device being used. In a sense, responsive design begins where mobile optimization stops working.

The responsive design reformats and restructures websites for any device, regardless of the size of the screen. Mobile optimization only does it for mobile devices. With responsive design, the website’s design will scale from the smallest screens of mobile devices, tablets and small laptops to the standard desktop screen and even larger widescreen monitors.

The responsive design offers flexibility and great ease of use in all devices for users. It’s really the only way to ensure that your website looks good and has an optimized usability on any device.

Mobile-Friendly vs Mobile-Optimized vs Responsive Design

If your clients’ profile is that of laptop or desktop users, then maybe a Mobile-Friendly site is enough for your business. But if, as in the websites of intermediation and tourism distribution, the client is very active through smartphones, you may need to invest in an optimized or responsive website.

What type of design is best for the web design of your business? The first answer is “it depends”. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • What do you want your website to do for your visitors?
  • From what devices do you think your users will access your site?

The websites are intended to take visitors on a digital journey. It is assumed that this trip should be as fluid and frictionless as possible. The easier it is to navigate your website, the more likely you are to increase conversions. In the long term, the optimization and ease of use offered by a responsively designed site will provide you with a higher ROI than a site that is only compatible with mobile devices.

Complete this short form to download the Complete Guide of Booking Engine for tourism intermediaries:

Booking Engine guide

The Complete Guide of Booking Engine for tourism intermediaries will explain:

  1. How to approach the decision making process, and the steps to selecting the right technology partner
  2. The critical role a Booking Engine will have on the current and future success of your business.
  3. The key differences between the different reservation systems
  4. What a successful solution implementation looks like, and how to get your entire team on the same page.
  5. Functions that your Booking Engine software should offer.

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