As the famous American singer, Bob Dylan, once said, “For the times they are a-changin.” The innovation of mobile devices, laptops, desktops and tablets is occurring so quickly that some businesses are struggling to keep up. They are getting left behind when it comes to their web design and digital marketing efforts.
A decade ago, companies could create a single static (non-changing) website. They could build it once and forget about it. Websites only needed to be designed for a few types of computers, two main operating systems and limited internet browsers.
But with the intense competition and proliferation of devices, browsers and operating systems, businesses cannot afford to operate in the old “build it and forget it” mindset. Business owners need a website that is constantly updated with fresh content and has a dynamic design that responds to the needs of its user.
In other words, businesses need responsive web design. In this article, we will define responsive web design, explore its benefits, and discuss how you can get started with a website that is responsive.
Responsive Web Design is Like Water
The goal of responsive web design is to create an optimal viewing and interaction experience across multiple devices by resizing, panning, scrolling and redesigning a website.
For example, if your website is being viewed on a mobile device, then it should have a clean design that makes it easy to view and interact with. I visited many sites that have not been optimized for a mobile experience. They tend to involve zooming in and out to view the content, which results in a short browsing session on that website.
Good responsive web design should be like water. It needs to be flexible and fit any container. Bruce Lee said, “When you put water in the cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.”
When your website is viewed on an iPhone, it should become iPhone web design. When your site is viewed on a computer, it should become computer web design.
From a technical standpoint, this is achieved by using flexible images, grids and media queries. This involves using percentages as opposed to fixed width for elements, and it also includes setting up design rules if a given device screen size is met.
But why should you really care about responsive web design? I mean it sounds like a lot more work. Well, there are several reasons you should ensure that your web design is responsive.
Design With the User in Mind
If you want to have a website that converts traffic into customers, then your website should meet the exact needs of your customer without bother or fuss. The important part to note is without bother or fuss.
If a website visitor cannot find what he or she is looking for in a timely manner, then you will lose potential customers. The number of devices that users are accessing, is increasing at an exponential rate. Since very few customers use the same devices or browser, you need a website that adjusts its design for the greatest user experience.
Not to mention the laws in Europe require that your website makes a reasonable effort to ensure your business is accessible to people with disabilities. So depending on how your website is built, you could be in violation of this law.
The best way to avoid the murky legal waters is to build a website that is responsive. A responsive web design ensures that your company made reasonable efforts to make your site accessible because it will be compatible across multiple devices and platforms.
I do want to clear one thing up. Mobile design is not the same as responsive design. This is a common mistake that many small business owners make.
If you have been reading about web design, I am sure you have come across the benefits of mobile design. Responsive design covers mobile design plus all other devices. Mobile design is about optimizing a website specifically for phones at the expense of larger devices and does not have a lot to do with responsive design.
Responsive Design is SEO Friendly
When Google speaks, web designers and marketers tend to listen. Google has said that responsive web design is an industry best practice, therefore every site should be responsive.
This is because a responsive website has one URL and one set of HTML, which makes it easier for Google to index and rank pages. Contrast that with building a separate subdomain for your mobile website such as “mobile.mydomain.com”.
With a main domain and subdomain, you would need two separate SEO and marketing strategies. Under Google’s indexing rules, a subdomain is counted as a different website.
Another reason Google loves responsive web designs is because they are much easier to share and they create a better user experience. For example, if you shared an article from a subdomain called “mobile.domain.com” on Facebook, then your friend clicked on the link using a desktop computer, they would find it difficult to read the article.
Having a mobile design hosted on a subdomain can create a large disconnect in user experience. This can create customer confusion and frustration which can damage your brand. Consistency is the key to branding so a company needs to ensure their mobile design is similar to their desktop design. This is best achieved through responsive web design.
Flexible and Established Framework
Responsive web design is typically built on an established framework, and these are typically backed by a community of professional developers and designers who ensure there is maximum compatibility. This makes it relatively easy for non-experts to create and maintain great looking websites with powerful functionality.
The frameworks that are created by developers and designers allow companies to place content where they want. For example, on a laptop the navigation menu might stretch across the screen, but on a phone it condenses into a simple menu button that is only expanded when the button is clicked on.
Another example is a desktop design that includes 3 columns. Rather than minimize the columns on a phone, you can stack the 3 columns into 3 rows. This way the content is easier to read and access.
Flexible and established frameworks are great for you and great for your customer. They allow you to develop and design a site with more ease than if you developed a site with separate designs and subdomains. These frameworks are great for your customers because it creates a better user experience.
Gain More Customers
What is the goal of your website? Most businesses want to generate more leads and customers from their website. For others, their website is their entire business model. Either way, anything on your website that does not convert a visitor into a customer is a barrier and needs to be fixed.
Too many websites lose visitors because of poor responsive design. Depending on the traffic that your website gets, having responsive web design could mean an extra $10,000 in revenue per month. Responsive web designs have higher conversion rates which means they generate more revenue for a business.
Here is how implementing a responsive web design may work for your business. Assume that your website is currently attracting 5,000 people per month. Your site is not responsive and currently has a conversion rate (visitor to customer) of 0.1%. You have determined that each customer is worth $1,000. So your business looks like this:
5,000 Visitors * 0.1% * $1,000 = $5,000
By implementing a responsive web design, you could double your conversion rate to 0.2%. Your business would look like this:
5,000 Visitors * 0.2% * $1,000 = $10,000
By not implementing a responsive web design, you could be leaving thousands of euros in revenue on the table. For that reason, at Code Clinic we always implement responsive web design.
Responsive web design is needed in today’s competitive and constantly evolving environment. It creates the best user experience and is great for SEO. It can also increase your conversion rate, which can increase your revenue.
This is the reason we make all of our websites responsive. Unfortunately, some companies, like many of our competitors, either do not use responsive web design or are implementing it poorly. We are the first and only web design agency in Neumarkt that offers fully responsive web design.
If you are ready to take the next step and have us look at your website to see if it is responsive or to have us build a responsive design for you, then give us a call at 0161-408-4759.