Last week, I decided to order burgers from my favorite takeout place. It had been a hectic evening, and the kids were cranky, so I took out my phone to try to order hamburgers online. But as soon as I opened their website, I could tell I was in for a challenge.
Entire sections and images were cut off on my screen, so I had to pinch in and out. Finally, after several frustrating attempts with whining kids pulling at my side, I gave up and decided to order a pizza instead, from a place with a working app.
Don’t be these guys!
Don’t lose your customer’s business because they can’t complete a transaction on their preferred device!
Responsive website design means that your website content displays well, no matter the size of the screen and device it is viewed on. It will make your site mobile friendly, improve user experience, increase the number of successful transactions and boost your search engine rankings.
But if you are not a web designer, you may not understand how this works or what is needed on each kind of device. In this post, we will explain what responsive design is and why it is crucial for your business.
What is Responsive Design?
A responsive website automatically adjusts the layout based on a user’s screen size. It keeps images from extending beyond the screen’s width and adjusts the number of columns and rows on a page. For instance, a 3×3 grid on desktop, may turn into a 1×9 grid on mobile, with the user scrolling down to see the options, instead of viewing everything all on one large screen.
Responsive design makes your site mobile-friendly by:
- Ensuring the text is readable without requiring the user to zoom.
- Getting rid of horizontal scrolling.
- Providing sufficient space for each section.
- Turning call-to-action links into easy to press buttons.
A responsive website eliminates the need to create a separate site or app for smartphone users. Instead of designing several websites for different screen sizes, you can create a single website that automatically scales up or down to match the device you are using.
In order to accommodate a given screen size or the needs of a user on a given device, sometimes designers choose to add or remove certain elements of a site based on the user’s screen size. For example, a Waze icon with driving directions may be added to the mobile version of the site while an image gallery might be removed.
Some elements that are particularly troublesome to make responsive are PDF files, maps, and tables. Pay extra attention to these elements when you check your site display on different screen sizes and consider providing alternatives on devices where they don’t display clearly.
Why Do You Need a Responsive Website?
In today’s multi-screen world, you never know what devices people will use to access your site. It is important for your website to look good on a variety of screen sizes.
Every year, more people are browsing the web on smartphones and tablets. In fact, research shows that today, mobile viewers outnumber desktop users. Google now emphasizes mobile-friendliness as a factor in search engine ranking. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you are likely missing out on valuable traffic and alienating mobile viewers.
Site speed goes hand-in-hand with proper design in terms of overall user experience. Especially on mobile phones, when WiFi signal strength can vary, you need to make sure that websites load quickly. This may mean removing or adjusting certain features on mobile devices.
Let’s examine a few benefits you will gain by making sure your website is responsive.
Improved User Experience
User experience is important for all website owners. If your images do not load properly on a smartphone, or if sections of your content appear cut off, your website will seem unprofessional. Additionally, frustrated users may leave your website before completing what they set out to do (like order that burger).
Creating a positive experience for users will encourage people to spend more time on your site and purchase your product or service.
So, how do you know how many people are visiting your site on mobile? The Google Analytics mobile report shows you how many users are accessing your site with a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. This information can help you optimize your site for the majority of your users.
In December 2017, Google began rolling out Mobile-First Indexing, defaulting to the mobile version of a webpage for indexing and ranking. Since Google now gives preference to sites that are mobile-friendly, responsiveness can help boost your position in the search results.
Maintaining a separate mobile and desktop version of your website can be expensive. Creating a single, responsive site will help cut costs for hosting and maintenance.
With responsive design, you don’t have to worry about making changes to two websites. If you want to make a quick content or design edit, you will save time by making the edit only once.
With a responsive website design, your website will be compatible with all screen sizes and devices. This can improve user experience, boost SEO, save money, and simplify management.
Do you even know how a responsive website works? Next month we will be writing how to make a site responsive and how websites adjust for mobile. Stay tuned!