What is responsive web design? Everything you need to know

posted by Digital Group on 17th December 2018

As smartphones and tablet devices have become increasingly popular, the way in which we view the web has changed. No longer are customers only checking out your site on their desktop computer. Instead, they are actually more likely to be looking at it from their smartphone! As such, responsive web design has become one of the most hotly discussed topics amongst digital marketers. But what does it mean exactly?

What is responsive web design?

Simply put, responsive web design occurs when the mobile, tablet and desktop versions of your site all load seamlessly. A truly responsive site will look just as good on a 5-inch wide smartphone device as it does on a computer at work. On the flip side, a non-responsive site would be awkward to use on the devices that it was not built for. 

Most commonly, the majority of websites have always been built with desktops in mind. If they are not responsive, then it means the desktop version of your site loads on all devices. As you can imagine, this can be very awkward to view on a smaller, differently proportioned screen. The user would likely need to scroll horizontally and zoom the screen in order to see content.

Why is responsive web design so important?

In case you missed the news, more people now begin a search on a mobile device as opposed to their desktop. More people are likely to use your site NOT on a computer – so much so that as much as two-thirds of your total site traffic could be coming via mobile. This trend has been evolving for years now

So if you look at it from a purely customer-focused approach, you’ll realise that having an unresponsive site will greatly harm the experience that visitors to your site are having. And if you look to the future and are aiming to grow your site’s traffic, you’ll realise that having an unresponsive site is equally as damaging, as Google has now initiated mobile-first indexing

This means Google now index and rank your site based on the quality of your mobile version, as opposed to the desktop version. So sites that are responsive have a much better chance of performing highly in search results. Also, if your site is unresponsive, but your competitor’s sites are responsive, then you’re going to quickly start falling behind with regards to organic traffic. 

The decision is yours

Ultimately, you have a choice to make. Do you make the shift, or stick behind the times with an outdated, unresponsive design? We know the choice that we’d prefer. And just so you know, making the shift doesn’t need to be timely or costly. Just ensure that all versions of your site meet the following criteria:

  • All content is easily visible on the desired screen size (no need for horizontal scrolling)
  • All content is well optimised, meaning the site can load quickly and efficiently
  • All buttons and links are easy to click without the need to zoom
  • The content is the same on all devices
  • Your site loads well regardless of the browser being used

Simple!

If you would like to improve your website’s mobile view, contact us to see how we can help.