These days your audience and your customers will not just be using your website on their desktop computer. With the vast variety of digital devices available to be used from smart phones of any size to tablets with different screen dimensions the ways that people access online information and complete tasks has changed dramatically. Users develop a different relationship with content on each device and these differences make for unique opportunities. The solution lies with Responsive Web Design.
Responsive Web Design is simply this–a website design that adjusts gracefully to fit on desktop, tablet, and smartphone browsers.
As more and more different devices with access to the web enter the market, it is essential that a website can fluidly adapt to multiple screen sizes. Web developers and designers have to go through a shift in thinking about how to cater the design to different viewports. A website needs to look good but, most importantly, it needs to be equally usable on a smartphone, tablet, e-reader, and desktop or laptop.
By responding to various’ devices strengths and weaknesses, a single website can effectively address the different relationships users have with content – from having full control when visiting a website to relaxed browsing on a tablet to quickly finding a needed info on a smartphone.
What is Responsive Web Design (RWD)?
Responsive Web Design is simply this–a website design that adjusts gracefully to fit on desktop, tablet, and smartphone browsers. Ever pull up a website on your smartphone and it was just a very tiny version of what you would see on your desktop, so you zoomed way in, and then moved the website around and enlarged and shrunk it as needed to read text and click on things? That was not a responsive website. Or if it was, it left out the key point of adjusting “gracefully.” A responsive website looks good no matter whether you’re looking at it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.
In more detail –
Responsive Web Design is a collection of techniques that allow a website to flex and adapt to the size of screen it’s being viewed on. Someone opening your site on a small smartphone will be shown the same site as the person opening it on their laptop but the site will have noticed the constraints and automatically reformatted to give the user an experience better suited to their device. No more loading a huge website and having to zoom in and out to find the content you’re looking for. Responsive web design takes into account interaction too and makes your site easier to use by acknowledging and integrating things like touch screens to aid navigation.
Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
As the web continues to evolve it’s becoming ever more clear that the main driver to a website is not fancy-pants eye candy, but solid, valuable, and shareable content. Responsive design explores the implications of limited screen real estate and ease of access not only for structure but forces us to consider our messaging and content on-site by adopting a ‘mobile first’ strategy.
Previously we designed for desktop users first, and a mobile version was either a far too minimal functional experience or we were trying to force too much of our desktop site into it unnecessarily. Deciding what is most important to a viewer on a mobile device with limited bandwidth, processing power and screen size means we get rid of anything diluting our main purpose or message and therefore, across all sizes of the site, we are focused and concise in offering a better experience to our customers.
Why is responsive web design important for your business website?
We can now see in Google analytics that between 30-50% of website traffic can be attributed to mobile phones and tablets. This trend is gaining momentum and statistics are projecting by 2015 more web browsing will be done on a mobile device rather than a desktop computer. Responsive Web Design is important because of the following benefits it brings.
Responsive Websites are agnostic to devices and their operating systems. A responsive web design ensures that users get the best and consistent experience of a website on any device of the user’s choice and preference – be that the iPhone, the iPad, the smartphones running the Android OS, or the Windows OS and several others.
As a result website owners and content publishers do not have to develop different versions of their website for every popular device platform which they expect their audience might be using.
Responsive sites work well across the multitude of existing devices on the market. It’s a safe bet it will for considerable time to come.
The future is uncertain, as always, so it’s a wise move to opt for a design solution that can adapt. Whatever innovation web technologies will bring in the future, responsive design will ensure that your marketing efforts can be viewed easily and consistently for years to come.
Better user experience
Optimizing your site no matter what the user chooses to view it on makes their life easier. Happier customers means a happier business.
While, content is king and discover ability of content are foremost success metrics, it is the user experience that enables visitors to consume content on any website through the device of their choice and preference, anytime. Thus, responsive web design is about providing the optimal user experience irrespective of whether they use a desktop computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a smart-TV.
Responsive web design accommodates the busy professional during the day and the wide-awake college student needing access to your site anytime. No scrolling or resizing is needed for any visitor to access your website from their favorite device and this ease of access to your website’s content is key.
Responsive sites take a little longer to put together, but they survive longer and the unified approach means management, support and upgrades only need be applied to one place. That saves time and money.
The advantages of having a single site that conforms to the need of all devices are significant when compared to having two separate websites. One website costs less than two, and the savings can be substantial. Sites designed solely for mobile device traffic don’t offer the advanced navigational techniques found in traditional websites.
No mobile apps or mobile websites are necessary. There’s only one website that needs support too, so this cuts down on monthly web support costs. Publishing new content is easy when there’s only one place for it to go. So no matter who is doing the updating, this will save a lot of time and money.
Responsive web design enhances SEO efforts by having all your visitors directed to a single site no matter what they prefer to use as a device. Instead of maintaining multiple versions of your online information, responsive design lets you keep everything up to date in one place.
Why waste resources maintaining multiple SEO campaigns? It makes sense to combine everything into a single website.
With a consistent URL for desktop and mobile users and desktop and mobile search bots, every site has uniformity. This makes for better user interaction, is easier for Google’s link algorithms, and increases crawler efficiency.
Managing SEO for separate mobile and desktop sites is hard and doesn’t produce great results. Google actually recommends a responsive approach to combat these problems and a consolidated view of your results means more focus.
With 67 percent search market share, when Google speaks, search marketers listen. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice.
This is because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Contrast this with a separate mobile site which has a different URL and different HTML than its desktop counterpart, requiring Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.
Additionally, Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site. Take for example a mobile user who shares content from a mobile site with a friend on Facebook who then accesses that content using a desktop, which results in that user viewing a stripped down mobile site on their desktop. This creates a less than optimal user-experience, and because of the large emphasis Google is now placing on user-experience as a ranking factor, this is essential to take into account with regards to SEO.
An optimised and consistent site, no matter what platform it’s viewed on, provides a better experience for the user which is more likely to lead to them engaging with you than going elsewhere.
We can also see direct results in Google Analytics for websites that are responsive in design with a well-designed user interface enhances the user experience which keeps them on the site longer, decreases the bounce rate and increases the conversion rate. A goal we’re all trying to achieve.
Despite a heavy focus on marketing, and ultimately making more money, we sometimes forget about the most important thing: people.
In other words, design your site with the aim of making it easy for the user to do what you want them to do.
If you think of customers as human beings rather than as numbers or sales targets, responsive design offers the best way to interact. Showing a person that you care about his or her opinion is a good way to foster trust. By designing your interactivity to be user-centric, and customizing your approach to fit the user’s personal needs, you’re taking steps in the right direction. And as a result the conversion rates either click-through or actual sales will for sure drastically improve.
Responsive web design isn’t a trend any more, it’s a must. Being able to offer consumers a beautiful optimized experience regardless of their choice of device means you’ll have expanded the reach of your service and the chances you have of engaging with individuals. The long lasting nature of this approach is incredibly valuable and the cost effectiveness is a clear advantage.
By incorporating responsive design into your strategy, you’re making sure that you have all the bases covered.
Don’t get left behind! Be responsive now! Contact us for a quote on your project now!