In the first example, Time is presenting many articles and a responsive site does a good job. It easily stacks the articles on top of each other and is easy to scroll through the article list on a smartphone. Once you click on the article, the story is presented in clear and simple one-column format that is easy to consume.
The Mission BBQ site uses a separate mobile site as it has determined the most critical information users are accessing from their smartphones is their locations, menu and catering pages. The navigation is stacked and is designed to be navigated easily with your thumb. Notice it still has sliders on the top of the mobile site to promote Mission BBQ's seasonal foods and events, but the focus is on locations and menu.
Is any one solution better than another? From a functional standpoint, not really. Both types of sites are driven by a CMS (content management system). All content is entered into a database once and then populated to the appropriate page or pages. It's really all about user experience.
2. Use Larger Fonts
On a desktop, it's easy to read 12 pt type on a large monitor. Plus with a simple key command you can enlarge a webpage (on a Mac, it's command +). But on a smartphone it's much more difficult to read small text. Consider making your smallest type a little too big and then make it one point larger. A rule of thumb: Make you body font size no smaller than 16 pt.
3. Design for Fat Fingers
I'm a fat fingered person. This makes me very sensitive to form fill-ins and links. Make them big. Remember a mouse on a desktop gives you very fine control. A finger on a smartphone does not. Make it easy for all to enter data into form fields and click navigation buttons. Make your call-to-action buttons even bigger.
Patrick Fultz is the President/CCO of DM Creative Group, a creative marketing firm producing work across all media. He’s an art-side creative, marketing strategist, designer and lover of all things type. His credentials include a degree from Parsons School of Design with 15 years of teaching at his alma mater, over 40 industry creative awards, and he previously served as President of the John Caples International Awards. Always an innovator, Fultz was credited with creating the first 4-color variable data direct mail piece ever produced. He continues to look for innovative ways to tap the powerful synergy of direct mail, the web, digital and social media.