What Is Responsive Website Design & Why Do You Need It?
Responsive website design ensures users have a good viewing experience no matter what type of device they’re using. Websites that
Website support for mobile devices is a hot, and important, topic for businesses today as Google has just announced the mobile-first index in April 2018.
It’s become increasingly important over the last few years as mobile device ownership has exploded and traditional PC sales have slowed. And now that Google is prioritizing mobile-friendly sites in its search results algorithm. It’s essential to make sure your site is optimized for mobile by using responsive design.
You can have one website to manage and maintain. And that site will be optimized for the widest range of devices possible – including smartphones, tablets, netbooks, laptops, desktops, etc. You don’t need to create different website for desktop users and a different one for mobile users any more.
In contrast, a responsive website and a dynamic layout that can re-flow based on different screen sizes ensure that no matter the size of the screen, the site will do its best to present a layout and a user experience optimized for that device.
Responsive Web Design vs. Traditional Web Design
An example of a non-responsive web design page is one that reads well on desktop browsers but has very small, unreadable text on smartphones, often due to having too many columns or images that are too large to fit within a smartphone’s limited viewport display width.
With responsive website design, you don’t have to focus on specific display sizes. Rather, responsive website adapts to a range of display sizes, presenting different layouts based on the display size and capabilities of the mobile device or PC.
In the image below, you can see a side by side comparison of the “Non-Responsive Website” approach and a “Responsive Website.
For this example, we are using the Brand Eagles Website (which is fully responsive).
On the left, we show what the site would look like if we had not optimized our site for multiple devices by using responsive design. You can see that the text is tiny and unreadable at this size. Links that were meant to be clicked with a mouse are impossible to touch with your finger and the overall experience is very poor.
On the right, we show how our site really does work on mobile devices. Content is presented in a single column at an appropriate size for this smaller screen device. Links are also presented at a size where they can be touched, and the content behind those links accessed, easily and effectively.
Which experience would you use on your small screen device?
Let’s take a traditional “fixed” website. When viewed on a desktop computer, for instance, the website might show three columns. But when you view that same layout on a smaller tablet, it might force you to scroll horizontally, something users don’t like. Or elements might be hidden from view or look distorted. The impact is also complicated by the fact that many tablets can be viewed either in portrait orientation or turned sideways for landscape view.
On a tiny smartphone screen, websites can be even more challenging to see. Large images may “break” the layout. Sites can be slow to load on smartphones if they are graphics heavy.
However, if a site uses responsive design, the tablet version might automatically adjust to display just two columns. That way, the content is readable and easy to navigate. On a smartphone, the content might appear as a single column, perhaps stacked vertically. Or possibly the user would have the ability to swipe over to view other columns. Images will resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off.
Let Your Users Navigate Your Website More Easily
Navigation is one of the most important element of your website. It allows your audience to access your site’s content and accomplish what they have come there to do. Place an order, find a service, make an inquiry, purchase a product, fill out a form, etc. No matter what your website is meant for, quality navigation helps your users complete these tasks.
In the image below, you can see a side by side comparison of the navigation quality of “Non-Responsive Website” and a “Responsive Website”.
On the left, you see how hard it is to use links on the “Non-Responsive Website”. Users won’t navigate to other page of your website as the links are not easy to read & click.
On the right, you will see that our navigation collapses into a large “Menu” button for our responsive design. If a user touches that button, they are brought to the navigation menu and it is presented in a large, touch-friendly manner to make navigating the site’s sections and content easy to do.
The focus on optimizing the user experience will ensure that no matter which device our audience chooses to access our website. The experience we offer them will work well and help them complete their task.
Also Read: 5 Reasons Why Website Speed is Important
Why Businesses Need to Switch to Responsive Website Design
More people are using mobile devices. A recent study shows 77 % of Americans now own smartphones in 2018 which is up from just 35% in PEW Research Center’s first smartphone ownership survey carried out in 2011.
90% of people are switching to multiple screens to browse the internet.
If you have an existing website, check your traffic and you might just be shocked at how many visitors are getting to your website through mobile devices. (In your Google Analytics, select “Audience” on the left side, then “Mobile” to see what proportion of traffic is from mobile devices.)
Smartphones are important, but they are just one of the devices being used to access your website content today. The device landscape is getting more diverse each day and if you want your websites. To keep up, you need to make sure your website responds well to this growing range of new devices and screen sizes. One of the most powerful benefits of a responsive website approach is that it adjusts to different screen sizes. It is the best way to optimize your site and online user experience for the widest range of devices possible. For both those that are out today and those that we haven’t even seen yet.
To stay in the competition and rank higher on the web, you need to have a responsive website designed. Start Today!