People spend, on average, 3.3 hours a day engaging with digital media on their smartphones. Because of this shift in consumer behavior, it’s no longer enough to have a website that only works from a desktop computer.
What is a responsive website design? A responsive web design automatically adjusts for different-sized screens and viewports. With a responsive website, someone can browse your website from any device and it will still look and function perfectly.
How Responsive Websites Work
A typical website is comprised of a set of files (each web page—home page, about page, etc.—is an individual file). Each file contains HTML code and content (text and images). Web pages are styled with files called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). For ease of explanation, let’s say that a standard (non-responsive) website has a set of files and a few CSS files that govern the look of the site. A responsive website applies an alternate set of CSS files depending on the device being used to access the site. The site looks and ‘responds’ differently based on the device.
For example, while someone viewing the site from a desktop device sees a horizontally aligned navigation menu, someone viewing the site from a mobile device gets a vertically aligned navigation menu with larger text that is easier to read on a smaller screen.
Why Responsive Web Design Is Important
There was a time when people only accessed websites from a desktop computer. The vast majority had the same size monitor. Websites were designed for the average visitor. Today, people access websites from a variety of different devices with screens ranging from a few inches all the way up to 27″ or more and expectations have changed. Consumers expect the website they’re visiting to know that they’re using a tablet vs. a PC. They expect the site to adjust to them—not the other way around.
Different devices also come with different expectations in terms of usability. For example, the Apple iPhone has “trained” people to expect to be able to swipe left/right/up/down. People visiting a website from a smartphone expect to be able to click a phone number and have their phone give them the option of auto-dialing that number. Similarly, they expect an address to have a “click for directions” option that uses their phone’s GPS.
A site that is responsive takes all of this into account and automatically adjusts to provide visitors with the best possible user experience regardless of the device being used to access the site.
Why Your Business Needs a Responsive Web Design
Recent studies by Google confirm that ANY business—whether you’re small, medium, or enterprise—needs to have a responsive website if they want to gain a competitive edge now and maintain it later. But hey, don’t take my word for it—take a look at these marketing statistics:
- 57 percent of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site (scrub)
- 57 percent of all US online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets (BrightEdge, 2017)
- 69 percent of smartphone users also say that they are more likely to buy from companies with mobile sites that easily address their questions or concerns (BrightEdge, 2017)
- People today have 2X more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere else—that includes TV, in-store, you name it (Google, 2017)
- 50 percent of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones and will grow to 70 percent by 2020
- Three in four smartphone owners turn to mobile search first to address their immediate needs (Google, 2017)
RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DESIGN AND SEO
In 2015, the marketing world blew up with what would become known as Mobilegeddon. On April 21, google announced that mobile-friendliness was now a ranking symbol, meaning mobile-friendly, responsive websites appeared higher in the search results. There have been a few updates since then, each one including mobile-friendliness as a key rankings indicator.
It’s simple—better rankings lead to more visits to your website, which results in more leads and sales.