In a modern society, the mobile device is king. More and more information is being viewed on mobile devices, making a slick-looking and functional site vital. The best way to ensure your website offers an easy-to-use interface across all devices is with responsive web design. What does this mean? Simply put, a responsive website is one that looks great on all devices, from desktop computer screens to smartphone screens. The site adjusts to the proportions of the device being used.
The introduction of smartphones into the market sparked a new era. People can now do everything, from planning their day to browsing the web on their mobile devices. When smartphones were first released, about ten years ago, the sites viewed ended with the URL “.mobi”. Back then, the websites designed and developed for mobile devices were separate to the sites viewed on a desktop.
Mobile devices now come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, designing separate sites for each device is impractical and would be an expensive enterprise. Responsive websites were born to provide a seamless user experience across all devices, eliminating any possibility of the dimensions distorting when swapping between devices. When browsing the web on your smartphone, have you come across a site that didn’t comfortably fit onto the screen of your device? How long did you stay on that site? My guess – not that long.
The benefits of a responsive website
1. Only one site required: Mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes. Designing separate sites to fit each device would be a time-consuming job. With responsive web design, the site uses the same domain for both desktop and mobile device. The site has a flexible layout, manipulating its design for the device being used, eliminating the need to create sites for each platform.
2. SEO: This is a big one. Nowadays, Google will rank your site badly if it is not mobile friendly. A positive user-experience is paramount to a good ranking. Users need to be able to navigate a site with ease, regardless of the device they are using at the time. A site that looks great on all devices will receive a higher ranking.
3. Driving traffic: Marketing your site is easier (and cheaper), as you only need to advertise one URL and not multiple sites. Traffic can be directed to one website that can be viewed on any device.
4. Editing: Modifying a responsive design site is quicker and easier as it only needs to be done once and the changes will reflect across all platforms.
Why a responsive website is important
The valuable SEO impact is not the only benefit of a responsive design. It is incredibly important in this day and age for websites to be user-friendly on all devices. We live in a society where you have a small window of opportunity to capture your user’s attention. If a user finds a website difficult to navigate on their mobile device they will quickly lose interest and search for another source. A responsive site gives you a higher chance of holding their attention. In fact, I bet you are reading this very article on your mobile device.