“Responsive design this. Mobile-friendly that. UX-focused every day of the week.”
If you have a website or are in the general business of connecting with people over the Internet, you’ve probably heard this phrase repeated ad nauseam: You need to make your website responsive.
But, wait a tick, what’s the big deal with having a responsive site? Is it really that important, or is it some web design fad? Before we answer the question, let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about when we say “responsive web design.”
Responsive Design Defined
A responsively designed website gives visitors the best possible experience from a viewing and interactive standpoint, no matter the device being used. More simply put, your site looks good – like really good – regardless of whether you’re browsing on a desktop, tablet, laptop, or microwave (well, maybe not your microwave).
This is achieved by constructing and coding the site in such a way that the content of the page – the words, images, links, and widgets –fluidly adjusts to provide an appealing, if not optimal, browsing experience across a wide range of devices.
RWD in Action
Use your mouse to resize the width of your browser window. Smoosh it as tight as it will allow. Notice how the menu bar collapses, images stack, and copy condenses. Now, stretch the window across your entire desktop. The page nicely expands out to keep a consistent look and offer the best experience. Voila! Responsive web design.
Now, you might be thinking, “That’s neat, but what’s the big deal?”
I’m glad you asked, fictional-yet-inquisitive reader.
Aside from making your website look glorious on everything from a movie screen to the tiniest tablet, there are plenty of good reasons to make sure you transition your website to responsive web design.
SEO, Don’t You Know
First and foremost, responsive web design can have a very real impact on your SEO. In fact, Google has confirmed that it prefers responsive web design when indexing sites for searches. This isn’t news, either. Google introduced their mobile algorithm on April 21, 2015, making the shift to mobile-friendly, responsive web design even more important (and overdue).
There are a couple reasons for this but, long story short, an unresponsive site means multiple sites for multiple devices, a less-than-stellar user experience, and unnecessary and inefficient indexing of web content. That all adds up to a hit in SEO.
By having a responsive website, it’s easier for Google to crawl and index content from one URL instead of gathering it from multiple sites. Not only that, but responsive design also provides a better experience for viewers, giving you another positive SEO bump.
On Any Device, It’s Really Nice
Along with boosting SEO, responsive web design can help your website survive in our increasingly mobile world.
More and more, ordinary folk are turning away from their desktop-bound computers and using the technological marvels of our pocket internet machines to access the web. According to Marketpath, 55% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices.
But with mobile browsing comes many perils.
As many have experienced, trying to navigate a website designed for a 36-inch monitor on a smartphone’s miniscule screen can be described as annoying at best. In fact, that’s the kind of experience that convinces people to leave a site and never come back.
In the days of old, companies would combat this problem by creating two or more versions of their website to support both desktop and mobile browsing. But this solution brought its own issues. As you can imagine, supporting, updating, and managing two site with essentially the same content can be a headache. And other annoyances, such as differing URLs, inefficient use of resources, and more, only add to the problem.
Responsive web design solves all those problems in one fell swoop. Not only can a responsive site automatically adjust to match the device accessing it, but it also fosters a positive user experience, especially in the age of mobile browsing.
Basically, Responsive Web Design Rocks
The simple truth is that responsive web design is important for your web presence. Not only do you get the benefit of a fluid, flexible design that can work across devices, but you also get a site that bolsters SEO, a better experience for your visitors, and fewer headaches by managing one site.
If your site isn’t responsive yet, do it now. It’s well worth the investment. And if you need help figuring out how to get your new site put together or up and running, the tech team at the C-3 Group is happy to help.