Ipads, Iphones, Kindles, Netbooks, Laptops, Blackberries, even Google Glass – the number of devices we have and use in day to day life is growing by the minute. With 70% of users giving up on non-responsive websites within seconds, how can we prepare websites to fit ALL the specification of all the gadgets of today, yesterday, and tomorrow?
Meet the world of Responsive Web Design.
“What does ‘non-responsive’ mean?”
All too often it is assumed that ‘non-responsive’ means ‘not mobile friendly’. Of course, whilst this is indeed true, it can also be applied to ‘old’ websites as well. For example, if your website was designed even 5 years ago, with technology advancing as quickly as it has the chances are your site dimensions, images, and in some cases the use of flash are completely out of date and out of sync with current devices.
By having an out of date ‘non-responsive’ website, it will be incorrectly displayed on modern tablets. mobiles and devices. The site will no longer be user friendly, and ‘drop out’ due to ‘old’ features and excessive loading times will send your customers running in the responsive direction…your competition.
“Why choose responsive?”
It’s simple really. You could pay out and build one website tailored for mobile, one for tablet, one for desktop, etc. Or, you could choose the more cost effective and simpler option of having one ‘responsive’ website designed which adapts and changes to suit the device it is being viewed on.
A responsive web design uses “media queries” to figure out what the resolution of the device is that it is being displayed on. Once determined, the flexible images and fluid grids size themselves correctly to suit the screen. A basic example of this is decreasing the size of a window on your desktop. The images and content will shrink, with the sidebars disappearing in some cases. Websites can shrink from three columns down to one allowing a better user experience and an easier layout to navigate.
“So, what are the benefits?”
We could list off a number of phenomenal benefits of responsive web design, but we’d be here all day…and the next…and probably the coming few months.
So we’ve put together the ‘top 3’ for now to make things easy:
- Increasing your reach to tablet and mobile audience this may seem an obvious advantage, but it is still an area that is neglected time and time again. Users are deterred from sites that are slow and simply not up to the task of being present on a mobile or tablet device. By embracing responsive design, you are embracing two whole new sectors of customers that you may have previously been missing out on.
- Consolidate your Analytics – With only one design you no longer are faced with re-directions and user journeys. Google Analytics is now optimised to handle multiple devices and responsive reporting, condensing all your reports into one single one, allowing for easier monitoring and analytics.
- URL Consistency: Better marketing visibility since URLs are consistent across devices will impact your SEO – and all for the better. All link-backs and content can be focused on one specific area, rather than split across different specialised sites.
“What’s the conclusion?”
Mobiles, tablets, and all the other new devices hitting the market are only ever going to become more advanced, more diverse, more readily available. Responsive website design is a must, not a maybe.
Responsive design is key to keeping ahead of the competition and establishing your business and brand as a ‘forward thinking’ and ‘technology friendly’ company. With all the benefits highlighted above, the real question is – what are you waiting for?
If you want your website to have media rich content that is user friendly, technology friendly, and sales friendly, responsive is the only direction to go in.