Why Responsive Web Design Is a Must-Have for Your Website
The responsive web design trend (or RWD), previously scoffed at as “a fad” by those who still held on to their expensive custom-built mobile sites, has turned the corner, zooming past respectability, and into the category of “non-negotiable.”
What caused this abrupt turn around? The “post-PC” world caused it. With the meteoric rise of smartphone usage, and the even more explosive tablet market, mobile internet usage is set to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014, according to Microsoft’s mobile sales division Tag.
Mashable, the online tech magazine, recently rolled out their RWD redesign, reporting that 30% of their traffic in 2012 was from mobiles, and they anticipated that number to reach 50% by the end of this year. In the past month alone, Mashable was accessed by 2500 different devices. That’s a lot of different screens to design the perfect user experience for.
And therein lies the beauty of responsive web design. Using media queries the site ‘asks’ the device what size of screen it’s got, then adjusts the site to fit. This makes for an overall better user experience, no matter what size of screen they’re using.
And why not mobile apps anymore, you might ask? Well, there are a few things wrong with them. The first (from a business perspective) is that Google prefers to have a site’s web assets all at one URL. Not only does this make the site easier to update and to rank in search engines, but Google believes that it improves user satisfaction. Since Google has gone so far as to recommend responsive web design as an industry best practice, website owners and developers had best take note.
The other main reason mobile sites are on their way out is that users expect their web experience across sites to be consistent. Having found an item or article on a mobile website and saved it for later, a user does not want to have to figure out where that item is on the desktop website. Social sharing is another place where the mobile-desktop dichotomy shows its flaws. If a user shares something a mobile link on Facebook, desktop users of facebook will be taken to the mobile link, not the desktop link. It’s not “smart” and users demand more and more that their user experience be free of petty annoyances like that.
Although responsive web design is now de rigeur, not every developer is experienced in it. And if your site is more than 1 year old, you almost certainly do not have a RWD — that is how new the technology is.
As part of our overall strategy to give business owners every advantage when it comes to their SEO, at Conversion Pipeline, we also include web design in our menu of services. If you’d like to discuss your site design with us, please give us a call for your free consultation.