I cannot tell which device you are reading this article from right now. It could be your iPad, laptop, or even your smartphone and you’ve got your thumb on the screen sliding smoothly. You could be doing this behind your desk in the office, or on your way to a meeting or lecture; whiles sitting in a trotro or taxi or even waiting in a long queue. Ever wondered how it’s easy to access your favorite sites remotely without stress? If not, sit back and let’s take a tour into the world of Responsive Website Design (RWD).
When you look around at the increasing number of devices on the market, it won’t be surprising to know that mobile Internet users are gradually increasing and taking over desktop users. Smartphones and tablets have changed website designer’s approach to web design and user experience. Previously, websites were designed for desktop users first, and a mobile version was only an afterthought. Making a decision on what is important to a mobile device user who has limited data, limited power supply (of course Dumsor) and screen size, means we get rid of all elements that do not add to a brand’s message but rather focus on the precise message with a better user experience.
Before the influx of such devices into the market, website designers had only one task, which was to maintain the same design and user experience across different desktop browsers. Accessing websites on smartphones and tablets cannot be compared to that of the desktop; and that is where responsive website design comes in. This is due to various factors that have to be addressed in order to achieve that. Such factors include screen size, resolution, Click versus Touch and support for Adobe’s Flash technology.
The manner and rate at which people are consuming online information and viewing websites means we need to consider how we engage them in order to offer them the best online experience for our brands and services. The best way to do this is through the power of Responsive Website Design.
WHAT IS RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DESIGN?
Responsive website design is an approach in web designing that allows a website designer to lay out a website in a way that it provides an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices ranging from desktop computers to mobile devices.
It is therefore the duty of the website designer to ensure that the website’s navigation elements, screen-layouts, text, images, and other User Interface (UI) elements automatically re-adjust themselves on a variety of devices. For example, when a user visits a website on a desktop or laptop, he gets the full view of the site. But when he opens the same website on a smartphone or tablet, the site will retract to fit the smaller screen. This will eliminate the need for a different website design for each new gadget on the market.
Now, having understood what a responsive website is, let us get to understand the need for a responsive website in creating websites.
WHY IS RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DESIGN IMPORTANT?
- A responsive website saves time and money.
There is this notion that making a responsive website is expensive. I am glad to tell you that it is just a notion and nothing else hence not entirely true. Tell me, which is more expensive building a responsive website that caters for all platforms at a go or having to pay for different websites for various device platforms. Having a responsive website cuts down cost by taking away the cost of maintaining different versions of the website. In all, investing in a responsive website is the smartest decision to take.
- A responsive website improves the user experience.
It is true that content is king. But what is the essence of having so much content when you have bad user experience? A good user experience with the help of a responsive website allows users to consume content on your website via any device anytime and anywhere. Thus responsive website is key to making your content relevant to users.
- A responsive website is recommended by Google.
You and I know that Google is the big deal especially being the most popular search engine in the world. So if Google claims it requests responsive website design, what other option do you have? The main reason for Google’s love for a responsive website is that it makes it easier for their bots to crawl the site, index them and organize all content online. This is because all responsive websites have one Uniform Resource Locater (URL) and the same HTML across all devices. When a company has a different desktop site and mobile site, there will be different URL and HTML for each. This will force Google to index multiple versions of the same website over and over. This is one headache that Google is trying to avoid hence encourages all companies to have responsive websites.
- A responsive website increases conversion rate.
A responsive website aside its many advantages also helps to increase conversion rate. Having an unresponsive website makes users go through a lot of difficulties in accessing your website on other devices. This, however, deters them from associating with your brand or service. Check your traffic and you might be surprised at the number of people accessing your website via mobile devices.
Having a responsive website, however, increases conversion rate as users are able to access your services with just a tap on their smartphones or tablets.
- A responsive website helps you stay ahead of the competition.
Competition cannot be overlooked in the world of business. Having a responsive website which gives your users the chance to conduct business online will give you an upper hand over your competitor who isn’t. This is because day in day out, consumers are using their mobile devices to search and conduct businesses online. Your responsive website will help cater for the larger audience on mobile devices thereby keeping you in business for a long time. Your competitors might be losing potential customers because they are not making use of a responsive website. This is where you can stay ahead and take those customers away.
Responsive website design is no more a trend or a choice, it is rather a MUST. Giving consumers a beautiful and optimized experience regardless their choice of device means you have expanded your brand and service to a wider audience. This is a long-lasting solution to help improve user engagements with your brand.
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We would love to hear your view on the awesomeness of responsive websites tell us what you think in the comment section.