Responsive Web Design

The importance of responsive web design in your website

Do you ever get frustrated when you load up an article on a website, as you’re waiting for the train or killing time in some other way, and come face-to-face with minuscule lines of unreadable text? I’m sure, when it happens, you are usually more than tempted to just give up rather than face the trials of wrestling with your mobile screen in an attempt to make the words legible or to locate a mobile version.

With that in mind, how often do you check what your website looks like on a mobile screen? How easily is it to access the mobile version of your homepage? If your answer to these questions is uncertainty coupled with a quick search on your smartphone, then a responsive design should be the highest priority for your website’s future.

What is Responsive Design?

If the concept of a responsive design is unfamiliar for you, then it can most easily be explained as a site design that factors in the screen size of each visitor when loading up the display. This is distinct from the design processes of the past, which would model a page image based on the specific pixel size of each aspect. Instead, web pages are coded as a percentage of the available screen space. The result of which is a single webpage that is perfectly proportioned to the device that has loaded up your website. Basically, whatever the size of a site visitor’s screen, the web page will automatically adjust to the best visual fit.

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You can see how this solves the problems of your unreadable print on your mobile phone screen. A website built with responsive design would immediately proportion the page content so that the text was perfectly readable within the width of the phone screen, meaning all you would have to do to read on is roll the screen down, rather than up, down, left and right as you try to follow the lines. Visiting your website is now a lot easier and frustrated views can suddenly become interested customers making purchases.

What’s Wrong With Just Adding A Mobile Version?

Obviously, if you have already had a mobile version of your page built, then you may wonder why you need to go to the effort of rebuilding your entire website to a responsive design. It certainly answers most problems of usability, provided there are no problems with redirecting. But a big problem with having multiple, duplicate sites just to cater to different screen sizes is one which, for any aspiring online business, should be towards the very top of your concerns: Search Engine Optimization.

If it isn’t enough to know that responsive web design is encouraged and advocated by Google themselves, there are a number of reasons why a separate mobile version of your website can actually have a negative effect on your Google rankings. Biggest of these is the fact that involuntary redirects, such as linking a URL to separate location for mobile users, are a big source of discomfort for Google in their efforts to counteract spammers cheating the system. So, whilst you may think your mobile redirect is just harmlessly helping customers to a more readable configuration, you may actually be directly hurting your search rankings in the process.

And, those who have resisted a mobile version of their website are missing out on the better search engine rankings that responsive design brings to an internet presence. We have already talked about missing out on customers getting put off by the barrier of frustrating websites not suited for mobile screens, but it is not just customers you will lose. The habits your site’s visitors also play a big part in identifying how suitable your page is to a particular keyword search. If a noticeable number are instantly turning away then, no matter how good the SEO is on your site, your ranking is going to fall away from that all important top spot.

How Important Can It Really Be?

Still not sure if a responsive design is worth it? Well, considering that almost half of internet usage comes from phones and tablets, you may soon change your mind. It is more than likely that the number of mobile users is only ever going to rise as data connections get faster and these gadgets get cheaper and, suddenly, by refraining from a responsive design for your website, you are cutting yourself off from a huge and ever-increasing number of potential customers.

How to Go Responsive?

There are many open-source frameworks based mostly on CSS and Javascript that will allow you built responsive websites. The most popular today are Twitter Bootstrap and Foundation.

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So, whilst a responsive design does mean starting again, you can use this as an opportunity to give your business a whole new image as you make your site easier on both your visitors; whatever they are using to browse, and on yourself as you remove a lot of effort spent updating websites and managing Google rankings.

Today’s customer has come to expect websites suited to mobile browsing. A responsive design means never disappointing potential custom again.

Contact Us, we would be happy to help you in the process of making your site mobile friendly.