The sheer number of mobile users that surf the Web these days has driven webmasters and digital marketers to rethink the way they design websites. This is how responsive design—a website development technique that creates sites that react to the size of a user’s screen—has come into prominence. At its core, a responsive website design (RWD) optimises a user’s browsing experience by creating flexible web pages that render content to fit the device accessing it.
Implement this web design principle and your site loads quickly without visible distortion in its content, regardless of the device’s screen size and orientation. Responsive web design makes sure that page visitors need not manually resize anything to view your site’s content correctly for them to enjoy an optimal browsing experience.
Responsive Web Design in Its Infancy
In reality, this design concept has been around for a long time but web developers only started recognising its benefits during the mid-2000s. As more consumers turned to their mobile devices to search the web, developers and designers initially struggled to make websites look attractive on desktops, tablets, and smartphones all at the same time. Eventually, many realised that flexible layouts were needed to respond to the changing screen sizes their sites were displayed on.
As brands with websites that don’t cater to mobile users are going extinct by the day, you might wonder why you or anyone should bother going through the hassle of embracing responsive web design. To understand what you gain by optimising sites for mobile users, read on.
Advantages of Responsive Web Design
A careful look at digital marketing trends in the past few years will tell you how there has been a distinct shift toward mobile browsing. The responsive design turns out to be the simplest and most effective way to keep up with the times as it allows websites to reach users across multiple devices and ensure a seamless user experience throughout. This design concept has become invaluable to any new website’s development process, indeed.
Furthermore, developers, designers, and business owners gain the following from this design approach:
- More Traffic
Various reports show that more than half of the traffic to top websites across the globe comes from mobile devices. By making sure your website renders properly on smaller screens (so mobile users won’t deal with distorted images and experience sub-optimal browsing), you make your site accessible and enticing to such a huge percentage of potential site visitors. Although some businesses still opt to have separate versions of their website for mobile users, responsive design offers better versatility when your goal is to have a broader audience reach.
- Faster Development
Designing a stand-alone mobile application alongside a standard desktop website isn’t exactly the fastest way to get your business website to go live. Not only will you have to invest a substantial amount of time for the development phase of such channels, but you may also be spending more since time is money. What takes months of planning and programming may be cut shorter when you pursue a responsive design instead. And the sooner your site is up and running, the sooner you cash in on it.
- Low Maintenance Cost
Let us say you’re running both a desktop version of your domain and a separate mobile site or app. In that case, you may have to maintain separate testing and support for each medium. On the other hand, responsive design uses standardised testing methods to ensure optimal layout across various screen sizes. Not only that but such a strategy will also save you from spending on separate administrative interfaces, design teams, and content strategies. Maintaining a site with a responsive design, as it turns out, isn’t a huge burden on your overhead.
- Faster Loading Pages
Mobile users, much like their desktop counterparts, have very short attention spans. In fact, studies show that mobile site visitors tend to leave web pages that take longer than three seconds to load. With RWD, you can better optimise your site for smartphones and tablets so it will take less time to load and navigate around. In this regard, caching is among the modern performance techniques web developers can tap into to improve page loading speeds.
- Better SEO Performance
Optimising a mobile site often translates into a better user experience for anyone accessing your portal on a handheld device. A responsive website, as it turns out, engages users better, and ensures that they’ll stick around longer to explore the content on your domain. That means they are less likely to bounce off your pages, which is actually a good SEO metric. Besides a lower bounce rate, consistent user experience across any device imaginable is a good way to convert potential customers. What web developers must understand is that most mobile users don’t want to be redirected to device-specific websites because the process itself is tedious. This is often the case when you require users to download a mobile application just to view their content. This should keep end-users from getting frustrated visiting your domain and turning to a competitor instead.
- Consolidated Analytics
Once your website goes live, it becomes very important to determine where your site’s traffic is coming from and how they interact with your pages. This is a step you must take to make informed improvements whenever you’re ready to take your website to the next level. Managing multiple versions of one website will require webmasters to track user journeys through multiple conversion paths, redirects, and funnels. Yes, coming up with a viable SEO strategy with so many different insights and statistics can be outright overwhelming. But implementing RWD often means that you need not go through such a hassle. After all, a single responsive site simplifies the monitoring process as it allows various tools to condense tracking and analytics into a single report.
- Optimal Browsing Experience
When it comes to websites, first impressions are everything. That’s why it’s natural for web designers to aim for a consistently positive experience for all users, regardless if it’s their first or umpteenth time to visit your domain. But have them do a ton of pinching, zooming, and shrinking pages in their first visit and they’ll potentially give up on your domain in favour of another that is more properly displayed on their mobile device.
- Establishing a Bigger Market Share Over Competitors
In the end, a responsive website design helps your brand keep up with the trend. As the demand for robust mobile Internet experience grows, implementing RWD becomes all the more important as it guarantees better visibility in search engine results and gets you better conversion rates across various channels.
As the number of mobile users continues to grow, it only makes sense to invest in responsive design because it may be the only way to stay ahead of your competitors.
Do you need a hand in implementing this design principle for your website? Contact us and we’ll do everything to make your site meet its mobile optimisation needs!