What Is Responsive Web Design and Why Does It Matter?

by | Blog

While browsing the internet on your smartphone, have you ever encountered a website designed for desktop computer screens? After squinting to read the tiny text and awkwardly trying to scroll horizontally to reveal hidden content, perhaps you gave up and clicked away. This is why responsive web design is so important. When website designers build sites that adapt to any screen size, business owners see marvelous benefits in user experience, conversions, SEO, and online success.

What Is Responsive Web Design and Why Does It Matter?

These days, over 60% of internet browsing is done on a mobile phone. And most people use more than one device, switching between mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet, and more.

Responsive website design ensures your website looks beautiful and has super-smooth navigation at all times. It adapts seamlessly to every screen size without any loss of elegance or functionality. The layout, text size, images, menu options, site width, sidebar, and everything else adjusts to provide an optimal user experience on each device.

Provide a Better User Experience

Google research found that 75% of people are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly website and 57% of internet users say they cannot even recommend a non-responsive website. This isn’t hard to understand. So right from the initial construction process, your website designer should be focused on using responsiveness to optimize user experience across all devices.

Boost Your SEO Rankings

Not only do users prefer responsive websites, but Google also prioritizes websites build for mobiles. The algorithm monitors how readily mobile phone visitors interact with your website. And if mobile browsers are staying on your site for longer, visiting more pages, and buying products, Google knows that you’re delivering a great experience. As a result, your SEO rankings climb.

On the other hand, if users are showing signs of frustration and disappointment, then Google penalizes your site. In this way, website responsiveness can heavily impact your SEO, organic traffic, leads, and sales.

Bolster Your Brand Image

Another study by Google revealed that 94% of people have a higher opinion of businesses with responsive websites. In many ways, your website is the face of your business and brand in the world. And if you want your company to have a modern, competent, professional image in today’s mobile-centric landscape, you need to put your best foot forward with a highly responsive website.

Keep Up With the Times

Already, over 90% of websites are designed to be responsive. It has become the expected norm across all industries.

This ubiquity of mobile-friendliness makes it especially jarring when you encounter a non-responsive website. It comes across as an anachronism, like something that belongs in the 1990s, not the 21st century. You can’t help but wonder at how out of touch this business might be.

Don’t Let Your Competitors Steal Your Lunch

Take a moment now to browse the websites of a few of your competitors. Use your mobile phone and also larger devices. If any of your competitors don’t yet have responsive websites, that’s likely to change soon. And you wouldn’t want to be the last in your industry to adapt to the modern mobile age.

You can test the responsiveness of your competitors’ websites on a large laptop screen. Click the browser’s right edge and drag it to shrink and enlarge the browser window. Notice how the website elements shift around and adapt to the new screen size. You can also use free tools like Responsonator and Screenfly to see how any website looks at multiple screen sizes at once.

Future-Proof Your Website

Technology is advancing at a breakneck pace. We never know how devices will evolve in the future, near or far. But when your website is built to be responsive, you can worry less about being taken by surprise.

Whatever screen shapes and sizes will be a decade from now, a responsive website will most likely adjust to fit. And the more screen sizes your site is designed to match, the better. Non-responsive websites are very likely to lose attractiveness, functionality, and likability with each new evolution of internet-searching devices.

Entice More Mobile Shoppers

In the US, the average individual spends three hours and fifteen minutes each day using their mobile phones. Statista reports that a staggering 73% of online purchases are now made through mobiles, and this is a trend that’s only increasing.

But even on mobiles, trust is an enormous factor when people make any online purchase. People are always looking for red flags such as awkward, out-of-date-looking sites. When your website appears visually perfect, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate, visitors are far more likely to stay and make a purchase.

Responsive Websites Are a Cost-Effective Solution 

In the not-so-distant past, the solution to different screen sizes was to have a dual-version website. But that solution has been blown out of the water by the sheer number of variations in screen sizes, even among mobile phones.

Even if it was still a practical idea, building dual-version websites is also unnecessarily expensive. Responsive websites appear so sophisticated that you may think they require great expense. But the skills and tools that website designers use today have responsiveness functionality built-in, making it a very affordable solution. It’s certainly cheaper dual-version websites, which require at least double the work to make.

Website Designers Are Designing for Mobile First

It might come as a surprise, but a significant portion of websites are created with mobile-first design. This means they are initially created to suit mobile phones, then adapted into larger and larger versions for other devices.

This makes sense when you consider that over two-thirds of internet searches are carried out on mobile. Mobile-first design ensures that your mobile visitors have an optimal experience, as well as your laptop and desktop users. It’s likely to be the standard in the future.

How To Be Responsive

For effective responsive design, it’s considered best practice to have your website adapt to fit at least three sizes: a small size under 600px width, a large size over 900px width, and a medium size in between these two. These three sizes are a bare minimum to suit most devices. Of course, the more specific sizes your site can adapt to, the better, as good website designers are well aware.

Flexible images are an important feature of responsiveness. The menu and how your visitors will find their way around your site is also essential consideration.

Prioritize Elements on Smaller Screens

For each size adjustment, always focus on content, user experience, and engagement. Working out the priority and hierarchy of elements is essential, especially with the smallest screen sizes.

On larger screens, you can afford to have more visible elements and content. But the visual real estate on small mobile screens is much more limited and easily overcrowded. For mobiles, ensure that only the most important messages and options appear first. The rest can come later or sometimes not at all.

As mentioned, the easiest way to ensure your site is responsive is to have it designed that way from the get-go. Next Level Media Crew can build you a beautiful, professional, highly responsive website in under 30 days. Contact us today to schedule a free strategy call.

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