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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 13, 2016

Dedicated mobile websites slowing browsing experience

Many of Britain's top retailers continue to rely on redirects from websites to a mobile version instead of employing responsive design, according to new research from website performance firm NCC Group.

by Helen Leggatt

Despite much of today's retail commerce being conducted via mobile, 44% of the UK's top retailers (22 out of the top 50) are slowing mobile user experience by employing redirects to dedicated mobile sites, found NCC Group.

Redirects cause unnecessary and unwelcome slowing of the browsing experience, and could result in loss of sales due to leaving and heading elsewhere. Furthermore, delays are more prevalent on mobile networks s data takes longer to travel to and from the user's device than on standard broadband connections.

Alex Painter, web performance consultant at NCC Group is surprised that so many retailers continue to rely on redirects, particularly in light of the recent trend towards responsive design "where a single version of the website reflows to fit the end user's viewport" which, he explains, is Google's recommended option.

"This is not to say that responsive design is a panacea," adds Painter. "While it's surprising to see so many retailers still relying on redirects when so much business is now done on mobile, alternatives such as responsive design come with their own challenges. For example, on some responsive sites mobile users can end up downloading more content than they need. However, designers are getting better at creating lighter, faster responsive sites, and initiatives such as the responsive images specification will help them improve further. Either way, browsing the web on a mobile device is now very much the norm, and the days of redirecting mobile users to different sites are surely numbered."

Earlier this month, NCC Group released data showing the detrimental effect of excessive third-party data on website load times.

Tags: mcommerce, mobile, responsive design

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