What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to website design that optimizes the viewing experience across many different devices. A responsive website ensures that the website’s navigation, screen layouts, images, text and other elements automatically adjust for the device it is being viewed on. This represents a fundamental shift in how websites are and will continue to be constructed. Before the advent of mobile devices with advanced web-browser capability, the key challenge in building a website was to maintain a consistent look and feel in various browsers. However, since the interaction with a website is different on a mobile device than a desktop, a new set of challenges have surfaced. A typical solution is to build one website for desktop users and another for mobile users; however, savvy business are utilizing Responsive Web Design so they don’t have to invest the extra time or money to create and maintain two versions of the same website.
Why is Responsive Design So Important?
Cost Efficiency – as mentioned above, RWD does away with the need to develop and maintain two versions of the same website. So while the cost to create a responsive website may be higher than for a conventional website, the cost to create a duplicate website is eliminated resulting in lower development costs. There are also longer term savings as only one website needs to be maintained, making the initial investment in a responsive website an efficient choice.
Widespread Mobile Use – people are attached to their mobile devices and mobile internet use continues to grow every day. If you haven’t noticed that mobile devices have become an extension of the individual, check out these stats from Smart Insights. As more and more people make the mobile shift, RWD is becoming the new normal.
Improved User Experience – content may rule supreme, however, ultimately it is the user experience on the device of their choice that allows them to access the content they are searching for. Per Google Think Insights on Mobile, there is a 61% chance a user will leave to another website if they are frustrated by the site function or do not see the content they are searching for immediately. Alternatively, users who have a positive experience are 67% more likely to purchase a product or service.
Google Favors RWD – with a staggering 67.6% market share of the U.S. search engine market and a whopping 84% share of mobile searches, it just doesn’t make sense to not take Google’s recommendation of RWD. Google prefers RWD for multiple reasons. With only one URL and the same HTML across all devices it’s more efficient for Google to bot crawl the site and index and organize the content (which is how search engines discover relevant pages for search inquiries). One URL means pages are easier to share. For example, if a user shared the URL from a mobile site and another user viewed the mobile site on their desktop, they would be viewing a less than optimal site; Google recognizes that unhappy users go to other sites, which increases bounce rates and causes the sites search ranking to plummet. So if you are not taking advantages of RWD, you are not taking advantage of Google.
Responsive Web Design makes for a positive user experience and happy customers and with more and more people using their mobile devices to access the internet RWD is a great way to make your website stand out from the competition. Are you interested in a responsive design for your website? Contact us today for a free evaluation.