April 01, 2015 | SEO

Altos Insights: Talking Mobile Web Design With Justin Martin

By now you have undoubtedly heard about Google’s new mobile algorithm update scheduled to roll out on April 21st. The hashtag #MobleMadness has been trending on Twitter and bloggers (including us) have written numerous articles.

This fundamental shift to mobile-friendly web design is affecting everyone who owns a website. And it is much harder than just pushing a button to meet Google’s new requirements. (Here’s a quick introduction published by Google for web-friendly design best practices.)

We sat down with Creative Director, Justin Martin, to talk a little more about what this shift to mobile means for our clients. Justin has been a strong proponent of responsive design for years, and has spearheaded Altos’ efforts to provide our clients the most web- and mobile-friendly websites possible.

Altos: You are a big fan of responsive design. Why is that?

Justin: For most businesses, responsive design works perfectly. Simply put, it lets a business create one site that works on all devices. This makes it easier to update and maintain the site. It is also easier for our clients, as they only have to learn one back-end interface to update content.

A: How many responsive sites have you designed for Altos?

JM: I’d say I have designed over 200 sites in the past 6 years. I adopted responsive design about 3 years ago… and have designed about 60 fully responsive sites since then.

A: That’s no small task. What is the biggest challenge when doing a responsive design versus a traditional desktop-only site?

JM: Planning. You have to start with the biggest size and figure out the look and feel of the site, as well as the functionality. Desktop machines are still the most powerful devices, you want to see how complex and flashy the site can be at its biggest size. Then, you have to figure out the smallest size, what content will show well on phones, making sure touch points are spaced correctly, and everything else that goes into designing across the entire spectrum of screen-sizes for mobile devices. We then start building the smallest size first. This is important to understand, we build mobile up.

A: Now that responsive design has gone “mainstream” what’s next for the web?

JM: A web with no limits. Currently, we are limited by what we can show on phones, videos, animations, and across the various browser compatibilities. As mobile phones get faster and mobile browsers get more efficient we will see more of a desktop experience on the smaller screen-sizes. That is going to open up a world of opportunity for web designers and developers.

A: What if a company decides to ignore this update and roll out a new site that isn’t responsive and that doesn’t detect mobile browsers?

JM: That company should hire a new team to build their website. Those companies will be ignoring about half of their potential audience, and will be punished -- for lack of better terms -- by Google. More than half of mobile research starts on search engines, and that number will only continue to rise. This is not a fad, and businesses with that line of thinking are leaving hordes of money on the table. Just look around you; every coffee shop, every street corner, everyone is on their phone… and every brand needs to be able to capture that traffic. Solid responsive design is the key to channeling that traffic to your site.

In summary, solid responsive website is the key to staying relevant in the new mobile landscape. No matter what you choose to do, whether it is responsive, mobile detect, or a separate mobile site on a different domain, i.e. m(obile).yoursite.com, the time to go mobile is now. If you aren’t quite sure how to take that next step, give us a shout at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are always happy to talk mobile web, and would love to help you create a website that maximizes your bottomline.

Let's Put Our Minds Together.

Work With Us