Responsive web design is an approach whereby a designer creates a web page that “responds to” or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through. That could be an oversized desktop computer monitor, a laptop or devices with small screens such as smartphones and tablets.
A responsive website has a fluid and flexible layout which adjusts according to screen size. The importance of responsive web design is that it offers an optimised browsing experience. Basically, your website will look great and work well on a desktop (or laptop), a tablet, and a mobile phone's browser.
Responsive website design has completely dominated websites over the past 10 years, transforming the way businesses build their brand and online presence. A website with responsive web design is a site that offers experiences that function consistently and seamlessly across all browsers. From desktop screens to mobile phones and tablets, websites that scale and adapt smoothly to the ever-changing context of multi-device users.
The website automatically reformats to give the user a better experience, that is well suited to their device, and can give your site a number of benefits as well as being in line with Google recommendations and guidelines. Responsive web design was introduced 10 years ago back in 2010 and has been recommended from by Google from 2015 onwards, but there have been many other updates to web design since that are also of great importance.
Over the past few years, the use of smartphones has grown rapidly. In 2014, only 22% turned to their smartphone first to access the internet. Only 2/3rds of people even owned a smartphone. Since 2014, the roll out of 4G internet on smartphones and most recently 5G and other innovations impacted the way people used mobile devices, throughout 2014, 4G subscriptions went up from 2.7 million to 23.6 million.
The use of mobile phone internet access overtook desktops for the first time in 2016, doesn’t seem that long ago but 4 years already goes to show how many consumers are browsing on business websites to find information they need or to purchase products instead of loading up a desktop or laptop computer. This highlighted a dramatic shift in behaviour, with the UK using their mobile devices to shop online, carry out online banking and scroll through social media. Ofcom reported at the time, that 7 in 10 adults use a smartphone, with over-65s now more likely to use one too.
It is now hugely important that you as a business for these reasons alone invest in a responsive website design for your business, your business needs to be fully available at your potential clients fingertips through the use of their smartphones 24 hours a day.
In 2015 Google introduced recommendations related to responsive website design and Google started recognising and rewarding business who’s sites were fully optimised for all mobile platforms by ranking them higher on their Google search than sites that are not mobile friendly, only last year in 2019 Google have again taken a step further and implementing mobile first indexing strategies. Mobile first indexing bases ranking and indexing from the mobile version of a site, as opposed to the desktop version. If you already have a responsive web design, then you won’t need to modify your websites. This is the most recent effort by Google to further improve mobile web experience.
If your business website is fully responsive all of your content, images and pages will flex across all screen resolutions and devices, whether you’re viewing a website design on your smartphone, tablet or a laptop, it will be unified and easy to navigate despite the differing screen sizes. Providing an optimal experience for the user across the board, responsive web design means your potential client can read and navigate the site with minimum resizing and scrolling and also minimal effort.
Responsive website design can improve the user experience for all of your potential users which will translate into a positive perception of your brand and business. If your potential customer can access your website quickly and easily on all platforms, they’re more likely to return to you for more business in the future and it more than likely means a higher conversion rate for your website and business. In a world where so much traffic comes from mobile devices, it’s important that you’re accommodating this factor through your website.
Responsive web design, and mobile-first indexing, is now also important as a search engine ranking factor. Sites that are responsive will generally load faster which is likely to boost your ranking and decrease your bounce rate. Responsive web design can also make social sharing easier, helping you to grow a bigger audience for your brand and business.
Website design maintenance and SEO campaigns are now a much cleaner operation, as a designer it is much easier and a lot quicker creating wireframes and delivering results and also less expensive than making a stand-alone web app in addition to a desktop website. It is now industry standard to create websites with mobile first in mind.
If you would like to discuss whether your business website is fully mobile friendly please reach out to us here.