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What Is Responsive Website Design and Why Is it Important?

What Is Responsive Website Design and Why Is it Important?

Would you like to access the mobile site?

Do you remember that question? It would come up when you typed in a URL on your phone. The sarcastic answer is, I want to go to the site that gives me the information I need.

Today we’re seeing fewer and fewer of those annoying questions as businesses forgo two websites, and instead, use responsive.

But what is a responsive website design and why is it important?

We’ll break it down without any of the techie talk.

What Is Responsive Website Design?

A responsive website is not device dependent. The design looks relatively similar and functions well whether it’s served up on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone. While some functions and menus will be slightly different because of size and accessibility (the layout is optimized for the size of the screen), the concepts are the same and you’re accessing the same site, not a different site exclusively for mobile access. This makes a marketer or content creator’s job easier because s/he is not updating multiple sites with content.

Why is Building a Responsive Website Important?

At the beginning of smartphone use, responsive website design wouldn’t have been all that important. Most people still used their laptops or desktops for searches. As the adoption of smartphones increased, Google insisted having a mobile-friendly site was important. Very important. So important that in 2015 it began penalizing sites that were not mobile-friendly.

Having a responsive website design is important for several reasons.

Google says it is. Google tells us it is. Google insists it is.

But ignoring the joke about Google, a responsive website is crucial to your ability to meet your customers’ and your audiences’ needs and preferences. In 2015, according to Smart Insights, Americans spent more time on mobile (51 percent) than they did on their desktop computers (42 percent) for the first time ever. It’s also important to note that:

  • 80% of Internet users own a smartphone.
  • US adults spend on average nearly 3 hours a day on their smartphones.
  • 89% said they search for a business on their phones at least once a week and 51% do it daily.

Starting to see the importance of a responsive website? If your audience has a bad mobile experience on your site, chances are they won’t be back. They also won’t be putting down the phone and walking over to their desktop to look you up again. They’ll simply move on to the next listing on their phone in your industry and that site is bound to be mobile-friendly.

Consider User Experience

With responsive website design, you’ll want to think about the user experience in a holistic sense. Just because your design is responsive, and adjusts the design on the screen based on the device, there are other usability components you’ll need to think about. Text, links, and buttons must be optimized for a smaller screen experience.

Often designers restructure the mobile menu design for a cleaner look and less clutter. You may also consider arranging the content differently as your mobile customers may have different needs than your desktop customers.

For instance, mobile users may visit your hours page more often, while desktop users may jump first to pricing. What pages do mobile users visit? What about desktop users? You can figure this out through hot spot analyzing software or Google analytics.