I'm designing a mobile website for a real estate office, so it's actually a mobile version, separate from the desktop version. The office has a preference for mobile version vs responsive HTML.

I've read quite a bit about the issue but some things still aren't 100% clear whether to use the mobile version for iPhone as well as iPad, or just iPhone:

For the iPhone a mobile version seems to make sense as it's a much smaller screen real estate and especially for a real estate office, the user should be able to make instant calls through the website. As I understand, this is not possible for responsive html:

For example, mobile sites also allow for the incorporation of phone calls into the design, where visitors can click a button on the design to make their phone initiate a call. This cannot be done on a responsive design since desktop devices cannot make sense of the click-to-call functionality and lack phone capabilities. Mobile design also allows for easy inclusion of mobile-only HTML, touch events (such as using a finger to scroll through images), or features such as location-based services

Read more at http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/36703.asp#multiview#L0MpeG7ZoqOZDjfF.99

I've seen websites (eg Trulia) where the user gets served the m.trulia.com on iPhone and www.trulia.com on iPad through UA strings. I'm wondering if this is an easier method, as you should only build a mobile site for iPhone and thus wouldn't need different media queries for different mobile devices.

Basically i would like other opinions on this, or remarks to take into account.

  • While they may have a preference to not go responsive, do they have a actual legitimate reason? Usually responsive is ignored due to not understanding it rather than there being a real reason to avoid it.
    – DA01
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:45
  • Maybe they are looking for adaptive instead of responsive?
    – UXerUIer
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:45
  • reasons are mainly business that runs like a circle with 4 corners :( They know responsive is the first way to go, but somehow these words dissolve in thin air
    – continuous
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


Any web page has access to the same dialing capabilities as any mobile web site. Those same capabilities can be ignored/turned off when dialing isn't available. Same with touch events. But this is all part of the design of a responsive/adaptive web site. You detect the availability using javascript.

I disagree with the opinion of the non-technical staff in the office about using a mobile-only site but that's another question.

EDIT: I just read the first paragraph of your link and would advise you to ignore everything in that article based on that clueless advice. For example, he states responsive designs often require four to five seconds to render on a phone. As one who does such work, I can guarantee you this is not true. Not even close.

  • Thanks for your honest answer. Currently their website is far from responsive and they want to at least serve the users who go mobile. It would be best to first make the desktop version responsive but things don't always go as you wish when bulky management administrations are interfering :(
    – continuous
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 11:46
  • @continuous When creating responsive sites, the first step is making the mobile version, then building up to the desktop. So you should create the mobile version with that in mind. In that way, the desktop/tablet version can be built "on the side" over time.
    – Rob
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 12:12

Trying to stick to your original question: "Would I need a mobile website for iPhone as well as iPad?" That totally depends on your layout and/or your (your client's) preferences. You can either have a (desktop optimized) website and gracefully degrade it to fit your needs – or go the mobile first approach – or have seperate versions. And even if you decide to have a 'desktop version' and a 'mobile version' you can still build either or both with a resposive approach.

And as @Rob already pointed out: you may or may not offer the dialing option – but that has basically nothing to do with your choice of either offering an adaptive / responsive website or not because afaik 'special' HTML5 and CSS3 functionalities are basically only rendered, if the browser knows how to interprete them anyways.


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