"Responsive web design" is a term that has been familiar to marketers for a few years now, but what does it mean? More importantly: as the owner of a website, how does it affect you?
Responsive web design simply refers to a site that has been designed to display correctly across multiple devices (desktop, tablet, mobile etc). When you access a responsive website on a desktop device, you are more than likely seeing the full view of the site. Access the same site on a tablet or mobile device though, and the content will retract to fit on the smaller screen without reducing the relative size of any content.
In other words, if your website is responsive, you no longer have to worry about hosting different websites for various devices, or having a site that doesn't display correctly on mobile devices.
With an increase in mobile based web browsing of 13% since 2010, and the era of the smartphone, responsive web design has never been more important. The facts speak for themselves:
That's 1.08 billion people who could potentially access your site between meetings, on the train, sitting on a park bench or even on a plane. In order to best capture and convert these users, your site must function seamlessly on their device. Responsive design allows for this seamless functionality without sacrificing the aesthetic appeal of your site.
As well as opening up your website for mobile browsing, responsive web design also has huge benefits in other areas.
With a 92% search market share in the UK, Google definitely holds the key to search strategy, so when they stated that responsive web design is their recommended mobile configuration, and the industry best practice, we all took notice.
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. This actively helps increase search ranking, as well as giving a more focused performance report.
Those of you who were early adopters of the smartphone will remember the excruciating pain of entire web pages loading to fit on screen, and the seemingly constant pinch-zooming and resizing so that you could read content or even just press buttons.
With responsive web design, the content automatically adjusts in scale to best fit the device screen. This makes it easier, and more convenient, for users to read and navigate through your site.
With a better user experience comes increased conversion rates. The more effort users have to put in before they are able to buy your product, contact your business, sign up for a newsletter etc., the more likely they are to leave your site without completing the desired action.
Responsive web design results in a site that is as easy (or even easier) to navigate on a mobile device as it would be on a desktop device, which will have a direct effect on user conversions.
According to Google's Think Insights on Mobile:
In the business world, you have to stay on top of the curve to stay ahead of the competition. So, if more and more users are using their mobile devices to search and make purchases online, you have to cater to that audience by having a mobile-friendly site. In fact, 85% of adults believe that a mobile site must be as good, if not better than, a desktop site.
Google also suggests an emerging trend that when users feel that websites that demonstrate up to date design and functionality suggests that the business behind it is likely at the forefront of its sector, which makes them more likely to convert on that site rather than a competitor site.
Clearly, responsive web design is something that you can't afford to ignore until it's too late, or sweep under the carpet and hope that it goes away. By adopting a responsive design, it's very likely that your business will start to see an increase in site visits, better user experience and an increased conversion rate.
If you would like to speak to a member of the Mackman team about starting your adventure into responsive web design, please get in touch through the contact us page.