With 58% of American adults owning a smartphone, and 42% of American adults owning a tablet1, Responsive Web Design (RWD) has quickly evolved into a near industry standard among web developers and designers. The speed with which society adapted and embraced these smart devices means that web designers have also changed the way they approach their craft in respect toward overall user experience. Clicking a mouse vs. touching a screen, pixel resolution, the implementation of Adobe Flash technology, and optimizing the overall design have rapidly turned into crucial elements to consider when designing websites for multiple devices.
WHAT IS RESPONSIVE DESIGN?
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at creating sites to provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices (from desktop computers to web devices)2. When coding a website specifically for web design, a few factors are usually considered: ease of reading, ease of navigation, and the overall ease of user experience.
WHY IS RESPONSIVE DESIGN A MUST FOR WEBSITES?
While the upfront cost of making a website could appear larger than a traditional desktop-only site, this process could/should potentially save money in the long run. Instead of having to eventually code/develop a website to have a “desktop-version,” “mobile-version,” and “tablet-version,” all three sites could essentially be developed at one time, under one URL. This cuts the total ownership cost, through only maintaining a single domain that works flawlessly in multiple locations (as opposed to managing a mobile, tablet, and desktop site).
I’ll start off this section by saying content is king. That should be no surprise to you, as content serves as the basis for optimizing SEO, increasing overall website traffic, and helping to convert your site’s visitors into sales, subscribers, etc. However, the way a user accesses all the incredible content your site has to offer is an important aspect to consider. Optimizing a site to work responsively allows the user access anytime, on any device they want. This aspect helps to provide optimal user experience (UX) no matter if the user is on a desktop computer, smartphone, tablet, or smart-TV. It all works.
Responsive websites do not care what operating system you have, what browser you’re on, or what device you own. The purpose (by definition) of a responsive website ensures a consistent experience for users on any device of the user’s choice.
RECOMMENDED BY GOOGLE
With a 67.6% market share, when Google speaks, web developers and search marketers listen3. Google recommends responsive design and refers to responsive web design as the industry best practice for a few reasons. First, responsive websites only have one URL. All of your search engine traffic and overall web traffic will register with the same domain, increasing your overall SEO score. Also, responsive sites have one set of code for Google to crawl, making the process of indexing and organizing your content more efficient. Next, all of the content on your website lives in one place. This makes it easier for users to share, instead of trying to share a mobile site with a desktop user. Again, user experience matters. Lastly, it’s easy to manage. When you have have a responsive website, you only need to maintain one website as opposed to multiple. You may also optimize your responsive with mobile-friendly SEO tactics and desktop-friendly SEO tactics.
Having a responsive website seems almost unquestionable in today’s society, and developing for mobile users as well as for desktop users is almost an industry standard practice which Warehouse75 proudly adheres to.
1 & 3. Zeckman, Ashley (May 20, 2014) “Google Search Engine Market Share Nears 68%.” Search Engine Watch.
2. Marcotte, Ethan (May 25, 2010). “Responsive Web design”. A List Apart.