If you’ve ever browsed the web on your smartphone or tablet, then you’ve more than likely experienced responsive web design! Sure, it makes pages look nice and easier to navigate, but it can also improve your ranking with search engines and how visitors interact with your site. Here’s our guide to why responsive web design is absolutely essential for your website.
Amazingly, almost 46% of mobile users report having difficulties accessing a website through their smartphone or a tablet. At the same time, the number of smartphone owners in the UK reached 39.4 million people in 2015 and it’s projected to grow to 46.4 million people by 2018.
These numbers stand as evidence that more and more people are using mobile devices to access websites. If your website isn’t catering to the needs of this specific audience, you’re missing out on a lot of potential traffic and business. One of the best ways to appeal to the mobile crowd is with responsive web design.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design, as the name suggests, is a type of digital programming that makes a web page respond to the screen that it is being viewed on. This means that when the website is viewed on a smaller screen, e.g. via smartphone, then it will look differently to the page that desktop users are going to see. This doesn’t mean that information is lost, it’s more a case of how it is portrayed.
The aim of responsive design is to speed up page-loading times and improve the structure of complex pages when viewed on a mobile phone or tablet. The layout changes might be minimal for small, simple websites, or they could require a complete design make-over for more complicated pages.
Typically, responsive design involves the use of a single column and the removal of all additional functionalities that will slow down the loading of a page on a mobile device. This may seem like a simple concept, but considering the variety of screen sizes on the market, it can be more challenging task than you think.
With such diversity in screen size between the major brands, it would be difficult to create individual designs for each and every possibility. Remember, responsive design is about improving the accessibility of your website, not recreating it in its entirety for a mobile device.
As a result, responsive design has become about flexibility – from column widths and resolutions, to image and font size, everything should adapt to the size of the screen and give the audience the best possible experience without having strict parameters.
Who Needs it?
If you have a website, chances are that at least some of your traffic is coming from mobile users.
With almost two in three UK adults owning a smartphone in 2015, there is a huge audience that could potentially access your website via smart device. Whether you have a content-based site or an eCommerce store, it’s imperative to target the ever-growing mobile crowd. To do that, you need responsive web design.
Benefits of Responsive Web Design
The benefits of responsive web design are numerous but some of the most important ones are:
Your audience’s experience contributes to your website’s position in search engine results. If people find your site hard to navigate and explore then they will leave quicker and this can impact on your ranking. Responsive web design affects SEO because it has an impact on the experience of the mobile crowd. It speeds up website loading and it makes information easier to access. As a result, responsive design can easily boost engagement and improve SEO.
Future-proof your website
Responsive design adapts – if there’s one thing to take away from this article, it is that. There may be a variety of screen sizes across brands, but once your responsive template is developed, it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt for different screen sizes, present or future. This means that your website will be compatible with devices of the future, regardless of their screen size.
It offers high ROI
Many responsive web design companies will do an excellent job without charging you a massive amount. In addition, investing in responsive design will bring a very high return on investment. It will boost engagement, potentially turning casual website visitors into paying customers.
Easy to manage
For many companies, responsive design is a much better option than having separate desktop and mobile versions. A single SEO and marketing campaign can be carried out to promote both.
Tips for Creating Responsive Pages
One of the best things you can do to ensure a game-changing result is to hire experienced professionals who know what they are doing. Choosing the services of a proven web design agency will mean that the team running the project know what they are doing and can work quickly and efficiently.
Keep these best practice tips in mind if you are considering a responsive web design:
- Keep the layout simple – This strategy will be beneficial for your desktop website and it will most definitely simplify the process of making the design responsive.
- Get rid of content that’s not essential – Anything that doesn’t contribute to a better audience experience on a mobile device should go. By getting rid of the non-essential elements, you’re creating more space and allowing for flexibility.
- Set minimum and maximum values – Coming up with specific design breakpoints for every individual device is impossible. Creating a fluid grid will be a much better idea. Set minimum and maximum values that will prevent excessive expansion or minimisation in the cases of very large and very small screens.
- Double check and make it readable – Always test the design on a couple of mobile devices to make sure that it’s readable and perfectly structured. It may look wonderful in terms of code but you have to make sure that the audience’s experience is equally positive.
If you’re considering whether you need a responsive website design or not, then remember one thing – the popularity of mobile will continue to grow in the years to come. If you don’t have a responsive website already, the time is right to make a change. You’ll reap the benefits almost immediately and so will your customers.
For more information, why not check out our reviews of some of the UK’s leading web agencies?