Responsive Web Design
The Importance & Benefits of Responsive Web Design
Written by Simon
With 80% of web users owning a smart phone and nearly 50% owning a tablet in 2015*, the importance placed on non-desktop internet use has grown rapidly in recent years and has become something which digital marketers must take advantage of. As mentioned in our Top SEO trends for this year, Mobile is predicted to play a huge role in 2015, and in turn responsive website design has become a hot topic for discussion also.
If your site isn’t currently responsive, this article is here to tell you the benefits of putting “responsive web design” on your to-do list; if you already have a responsive site, then read on and bask in the glory of knowing your site provides great user experience, is better future proofed and is boosting your conversion rates and SEO!
In the beginning, as mobile and tablet use began to increase in popularity, marketers alike realised an issue in that websites designed for desktops didn’t always have the same effect when viewed on a smaller screen. The initial solution? Creating different sites for desktop, mobile and tablets each with their own URL. The new sites made for smaller screens would usually have reduced functionality and minimal content in an attempt to make everything fit to size.
Although this resolves the issue of making a site appropriate for the user’s device, there are a lot of administrative and logistical issues involved with this process; that’s multiple designs, multiple builds and multiple content creation, all of which cost more money and in most cases actually reduce the user’s experience. In all, this method isn’t the most sensible way of adapting to increased mobile and tablet use.
This is where responsive web design takes the crown; the process of making a site responsive involves using a range of techniques which allow for flexibility and adaptation of the site to optimise to the screen is it opened to. Responsive sites will take the content, layout and functionality and will automatically reformat these, enhancing them for whichever screen they are being used on.
Making your site receptive to different platforms using this technique, provides a variety of benefits for not only yourself, but your users also. Below are the key advantages which show the importance of responsive web design in a modern era:
• Cost Effectiveness – you may assume that making your site responsive will require a lot of time and money, but when taking into account the long term impact of a more extensive build, this technique is by far the most cost and time effective with the best user experience results. Think about how much time, money and effort goes into designing, building and maintaining multiple sites for each platform? By putting in a little more effort at the beginning, you’ll soon reap the benefits of creating a site which is automated to optimise and in general is much more future-proofed and ready for technological developments.
• User Experience – this is one of the key benefits of using responsive web design to optimising your site to suit all platforms. Users can become frustrated very easily when trying to access an un-responsive site via mobile or tablet, and this in turn is highly likely to lead to a reduced user experience. Through making your site responsive, this frustration is limited and you have a much greater chance of making your users have a positive experience.
• Improved Conversion Rate – if you’re looking to improve your sales and other conversions, making your site responsive is one excellent way of doing so. Enhanced user experience and improved conversion rates often go hand-in-hand; if optimising your site's design will help enhance the user's experience, then you’re set to gain the benefits of improved conversion rates too.
• SEO – one of the main reasons why responsive web design can benefit search engine optimisation, is that Google themselves advocate responsivity – when a search giant recommends something to improve your SEO, it’s hard to ignore their advice! Making your site responsive not only save you time (you don’t have to create multiple content for different platforms) but also saves Google time as they don’t have to crawl multiple URLs. Overall, Google will appreciate that your responsive site saves them time and will in turn reward you: wins all round.
If there’s one thing to take from this article, it’s that essentially you don’t really have a choice in the matter anymore; it is now imperative in the digital age to make sure your site is responsive across all types of platforms. For inspiration, check out some of the sites we have helped make responsive here!