What Is Responsive Design – And Why Should I Have It?

Have you recently browsed a website on your mobile device, only to click away when its layout didn’t work well with your screen? Non responsive design is the culprit in these situations, and it’s hurting site traffic more than business owners realize.

Responsive design is a term you’ll hear often in discussions concerning website building, yet many business owners don’t know what it means. Responsive design is exactly what the name implies – a website design that responds to the user intuitively, but that’s only scratching the surface.

Responsive Design Changes its Shape and Size.

Responsive design is comprised of multiple fluid grid layouts, working together to adapt to the demands of the screen it’s being viewed upon. For example, a website with responsive design changes its shape and size to fit on the smaller screen of a smartphone compared to a laptop. The importance of responsive design in today’s competitive market cannot be underestimated.

Does Responsive Design Really Work?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Again and again, responsive design proves its worth as a technique every website needs to incorporate – sooner rather than later, as the number of mobile users is projected to reach an all-time high this year. As users turn to their mobile devices to access websites, they’re expecting site owners to anticipate their needs and get onboard with responsive design.

The return on investment of time and money during development is coming back to website owners tenfold. Sites with responsive design are currently experiencing:

• SEO “brownie points”
• Faster load times
• Enhanced user experience
• Higher conversion rates
• Lower bounce rates
• Social share and brand name growth

There are other benefits that come from having one site that works across all channels as well. When you integrate responsive design into your preexisting website, you’re avoiding the cost and time it would take to create a brand new website. You’re also avoiding damaging SEO ramifications. Search engines pick up on duplicated content throughout your site and penalize you.

Sites with responsive design don’t worry about which URL to send to paid media campaigns or to clients based on the targeted device. Your business will have one URL that works across the board, eliminating potential translation mishaps. Your users will benefit from this consistent image since they will be able to instantly recognize your brand’s image no matter what device they’re using.

If you still need convincing, browse these examples of the best responsive web design sites and see the incredible difference responsive design makes on overall usability for yourself.

How to Implement Responsive Design in Your Website

You’ve spent months or even years developing your website to optimize its usability for desktops. Are you supposed to accept the status quo now that users access your site from other channels? Of course not.

Your target audience deserves smooth, effective website – not a sloppy, off-kilter version because you don’t understand responsive design. Creating a mobile version of your website may feel like biting off more than you can chew, but it can be made simple with a few simple steps.

Look at the Big Picture

The first step to implementing responsive design into your site is to consider all of the aspects involved: the time and money you’ll spend, your site’s ability to adapt to older browsers, your content and performance, and optimizing a website versus creating a mobile app. Make a plan that answers all of these requirements, and go from there. When you can see the big picture, it’s much easier to discern the small details.

Think Outside the Page

The second step is to stop thinking in terms of pages, and start thinking in terms of systems. Thinking page by page is a thing of the past. The World Wide Web is no longer dominated by webpages, but by comprehensive websites that are intelligent and anticipate user needs. The modern-day website can be tapped, scrolled, and responds instantly to input – all at the hands of the user.

Master Flexibility

The third step is to brush up on your web design, and learn new tricks of the trade. Responsive design is all about the flexibility of your site to adapt to changing environments and to react to user directives. It’s called a “fluid” website for a reason – like water, it should change its shape and readjust according to the limits of its container. You’ll need to account for screen resolution and image adjustments, as well as create an unbreakable layout with content that remains legible across all devices.

Recruit a Sidekick

Finally, you’ll want to work with an experienced designer if you have any issues with implementing responsive design into your website. Creating a lovely mix of fluid grids, resizable images, and elastic layouts is more complex than you think. No one wants to waste time and money developing a site design that won’t translate well to practical use, and that’s exactly what can happen without a strong technical perspective on your side.

 

 

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