Why is Responsive Web Design Important?
Responsive web design (RWD) is the technique of designing and developing a single website that adjusts the best viewing experience for the users device ie. phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
As more users are using mobile devices to surf the Internet, RWD is becoming an essential part of web design and development. Google has labeled responsive design as an “Industry Best Practice” and from April 21st 2015 has rolled out an update for Mobile friendly websites.
In Google’s terms “We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results.” This has a direct impact on your website.
A site that is mobile friendly will be seen higher in search results on mobile devices, and those that aren’t will be shown lower.
With mobile now accounting for 30-35% of searches, this has an impact on your sites visibility on those devices. By having one site and one collection of code makes it easier and more efficient for search engines to crawl, index and organize content.
Most importantly, businesses have proven to increase a wider target audience by having their website viewable on mobile devices, resulting in decreased bounce rates caused by unresponsive websites.
Old School Web Design
Before RWD, a business would design and develop another specially built mobile website. When a user would browse to the businesses website, the web server would determine which website to serve based on the users device.
The disadvantage of having two different websites, meant a company had to maintain and update information twice. Also, this process would hinder website rankings in major search engines as they would be deemed duplicate content. In some cases the businesses brand was not delivered in a consistent way across both sites causing confusion to the user.
The Benefits of Responsive Web Design
Businesses are finding it simpler and less time consuming to manage and maintain a single website rather than a primary and mobile website. Updating information is designed and developed to behave differently across all devices and view ports autonomously.
This allows a business to update information in one central place and allow the code to adapt the information accordingly. By having a responsive website will ensure a business’ website will be robust enough to be viewable across all new mobile products as they are launched onto the market.
A business can consolidate their website analytics and reports. Now, they no longer need to track user journeys, conversion paths, funnels and redirects between their sites. Analytic tools are now optimized to handle multiple devices and responsive reporting in one global report.
Costs and Time Investment
Responsive websites can initially cost more to design and develop. (Depending on the functionality and requirements of the site). This is largely because responsive websites are developed to be viewable on multiple view ports and screens rather than to a set width and height dimension. Decisions are made at each view port on what information is displayed, in which order and how best to display it. Things that are predominant on the desktop view port may not necessarily be the most vital information to be displayed on mobile devices. Information on mobile view ports are simplified and spaced out for the user to read and navigate easily through the website.
With responsive website development and design you are allowing a user to view your business’ website on multiple devices. Thus, allowing your company to increase its consumer audience.
In the long term it reduces the maintenance time when website changes are required which saves money internally. Major search engines can index and crawl responsive websites much more effectively and efficiently and give stronger ratings to responsive sites. Also, it allows a company to gather more information on its users and report in a much more timely and accurate way.