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Mobile Responsive is the New “Mobile Friendly” for Communities

Confused about the difference between mobile friendly and mobile responsive? You’re not alone. Although these terms seem similar in meaning, they’re actually quite the opposite.

For instance mobile ‘friendly’, by industry definition, is a bit of a misnomer. Mobile responsive is actually more mobile friendly than mobile friendly and here’s why.

A mobile friendly webpage, community or portal refers to a user interface (UI) that retains a single layout and aspect ratio that fits on both desktop and mobile devices. So when it’s viewed on a mobile device it scales down to the viewport size resembling a shrunken version of the desktop interface.  For example, when viewing a mobile friendly Salesforce Community on an iPhone, the desktop version of the page would render as is, only a smaller or view from a distance. You are then required to pinch-zoom to navigate, enlarge text and fill out a form.  This can be tedious and bad practice.

Mobile friendly requires a low level of effort to implement; it just is not a very ‘friendly’ mobile experience.

Below is an example of a mobile friendly UI, from our Saasi Sound Community Cloud demo site, before we converted it to be Mobile responsive. You’ll notice that, in order to read and interact with this page on a mobile device, zooming and panning would be required.

Mobile friendly Salesforce Community Cloud

Mobile responsive, as previously mentioned, is actually more mobile friendly than mobile ‘friendly’.  This is because a mobile responsive UI re-aligns its asset hierarchy to accommodate the device screen-size by resizing images, text and form fields appropriately. For instance, if a Salesforce partner community were viewed on an iPhone, the UI would adapt decreasing the image size, consolidating the navigation, enlarging the text to be more legible and fattening up the buttons for a touch screen.  Essentially the pages would look and function much like an application as well as adapt to all devices and screen-sizes in both portrait or landscape mode. 

Although mobile responsive does require a higher level of effort to implement, it’s worth it in the long run.   Not only is it best practice but it also will provide an optimal user experience, especially if your community or portal caters to a mobile audience.

Below is an example of a mobile responsive UI, from our SaasiSound Community Cloud demo site. You’ll notice that the header, navigation, splash banner and content adapts to the smaller screen to allow for a truly ‘friendly’ and tailored user experience.

Mobile responsive Salesforce Community Cloud

The Perficient Salesforce UI/UX team has implemented many successful mobile responsive Salesforce Communities and portals for a number of our clients.

So if you’re looking to build a Salesforce Community, portal or custom app, you’ll want to push to have it built on a mobile responsive framework and steer clear of ‘mobile friendly’. That way your customers and partners can easily access information on the go while adding value to their overall product.

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David Wickland

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