Why Is Everyone Using Responsive Web Design?
Responsive Web Design Helps You Build Sites With the User in Mind
In today’s digital world, websites are experienced across a wide range of browsers and devices, from watches and phones to tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Responsive web design tackles the needs of users across those platforms to ensure that the user always has the optimal experience on your site using CSS style rules, fluid grids, and flexible images. Designing a website with a layout that doesn’t seamlessly fit different sized screens without sacrificing speed or usability is a surefire way to miss out on visitors, views and sales, increasing bounce rates and killing your conversions.
Responsive web design, currently a major trend in user experience (UX) design, addresses the myriad sizes a layout may have to fit within various screen sizes without the need for lots of panning, zooming, or resizing. With the frequent updates to the screen sizes of phones, not to mention the growing differences between the capacities of different browsers, it’s more important than ever that websites are adaptable and responsive. According to data from a 2012 Google study, 75% of web surfers report a preference for mobile-friendly sites, which explains why Google even penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
Forgetting About Mobile Compatibility Gives Your Competitors an Advantage
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re giving your competitors a huge helping hand. You’re sending the visitors who came your site across the web to the sites of your rivals: 61% of the participants in Google’s study who couldn’t immediately find what they were searching for said they would “quickly move on to another site” and 79% who didn’t like what they found said they would simply search for another site.
If your site isn’t optimized, you are almost certainly missing out on not just potential customers, but also the potential for repeat business. Data from Google’s study suggests that 74% of people who encounter mobile-friendly sites are “more likely to return” to the same site in the future, particularly when they’re ready to buy a product or service.
Responsive Web Design Ensures That Your Content Is Seen The Way You Intended
Creating a responsive website is the best way to ensure that the content and images you populate the site with are seen the way you designed them. What’s the point of designing a beautiful site with an intuitive navigation if it can only be viewed on a desktop monitor but half of your visitors (or more) are accessing the site on a mobile device?
In that same Google study, users expressed disappointment and frustration when they encounter a website that isn’t mobile-friendly. For some people, it feels like the company doesn’t care about their consumers at all; for others, they feel like their time was wasted.
These negative experiences not only cause your site to miss out on sales, but also damage your company’s overall reputation. More than half (52%) of the participants in the Google study reported that a bad mobile experience decreases the likelihood that they’ll interact with the company the website represents.
Google Incentivizes the Use of Responsive Web Design for Mobile-Friendliness
Google announced in the April 2015 “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update that mobile-optimized sites will enjoy enhanced ranking for searches made on sites using responsive web design to be fully mobile-friendly; sites that aren’t optimized for mobile will have their ranking negatively affected.
When crawling pages to determine where the most relevant information is living on the web, sites that utilize responsive web design make it easier for Google to rank their domain quickly and accurately. Responsive web design streamlines your creation process by eliminating the need to maintain more than one site, such as m-dot or t-dot sites for mobile and tablets, respectively, to optimize for mobile. It also streamlines your SEO efforts, because separate sites for different devices force to maintain links, keyword rankings, and authority across multiple domains.
Editing and maintaining separate sites for each device leaves a lot of room for error and doesn’t guarantee that your site will look good across multiple gadgets. It’s also common that the wrong version of your site could load if your users share a link from the mobile site on their desktop, creating more frustration and disappointment. Even worse, if there isn’t a mobile-friendly version of a page on your website and it’s being accessed on a desktop, your visitors could end up seeing 404 error pages!
Responsive Web Design: The (Not So) New Standard
According to Google, last year was the first year ever that more searches were performed on mobile devices than computers in the U.S. (and nine other countries). That explains pretty well why these days, most designers have begun to take a “mobile first” approach to designing the user experience.