What is this I keep hearing about ‘responsive’ web design? And ‘mobile-first design’ Why is it SO important?
First, we need to take a look at what ‘responsive’ actually means.
To cut a long story short, a ‘responsive’ website automatically resizes and adjusts, according to the device and screen size on which it is viewed, preventing your visitors from scrolling from left to right, or having to zoom out to view images that are too large for the page. It’s an important aspect of user experience (or ‘UX’, but that’s for another post).
A website that isn’t properly optimized for different devices can increase bounce rates and harm your organic search page rankings.
A responsive website is one-size-fits-all. Instead of having to design several websites to fit several devices, you have just one that automatically scales up or down to fit.
But why should it matter?
The latest stats from Statista, show that mobile devices generated 54.8% of global website traffic in the first quarter of 2021. Meaning that over half of your website views are on a mobile device, not a desktop PC or laptop. This has increased by 23.64% since 2015 and will only continue to rise as more and more of us rely on our smart devices for everyday tasks and global smartphone accessibility increases. As a nation, we’re becoming more tech-savvy with over 65s now more likely to use phones too. We shop online, bank online, and are addicted to social media.
So now that’s out of the way, what are the key benefits?
It shouldn’t come as a shock that maintaining several websites will be a substantial drain on your time and money (and sanity). By using a responsive design, you reduce that headache to just one website that needs your attention. It’s easier for SEO campaigns and website maintenance.
By designing ‘mobile first’ you are catering for the majority of your visitors, and this is now recognized not only by web professionals around the world but by Google, who in 2015, announced that mobile-friendliness would become a ranking factor in its search engine algorithms. In fact, more recently, they’ve expanded upon this and have been implementing ‘mobile-first’ indexing strategies. This means that they look at the mobile version of the website to decide how to rank it as opposed to the desktop version. It’s all about user experience.
If you don’t know what Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is, you need to gen up. Without it, you have no hope of visitors finding your website in any of the major search engines. The closer you are to that holy grail #1 spot in Google, the more likely you are to be seen. Responsive design is imperative for your SEO strategy as Google (as mentioned earlier) gives priority to those that are mobile-friendly.
Responsive web design dramatically improves the experience of your visitors. You must have come across at least one website that when viewed on mobile, tried to squeeze the entire webpage into one tiny screen, or was too large meaning you had to try and scroll sideways, or maybe it simply just looked a mess. It’s frustrating, right? How did that make you feel about the business whose website you were browsing? By using responsive design techniques, you greatly improve the user experience for your visitors, which increases engagement and credibility, improving perception of your brand, leading to sales, subscriptions or follows, depending on your goal.
Now, that’s not to say that responsive design is perfect and will achieve all your visitor-engagement dreams; not every website can look great on every single device, or you may want to offer different experiences for different devices that can’t be covered with just one design. If you run adverts or banner ads, these can look a bit funky on mobile devices and if you’re going it alone, responsive design can be tricky to achieve effectively.
Despite this, however, there is overwhelming evidence that if you are able, and it compliments your brand, responsive design is the way to go.
Let’s look at some more stats
It takes about 50 milliseconds for a visitor to decide whether they like your website enough to stick around. Let that sink in… 0.05 seconds. Get it wrong and you’re losing visitors before they even know what your business has to offer. There are countless other websites out there just waiting to be clicked on, your visitor needs a reason to stay.
First impressions count
Here’s where responsive design really matters: 57% of users say that they wouldn’t recommend a business that has a poorly designed website on mobile and an astonishing 85% of adults, think that a website should look at least as good, if not better than its desktop counterpart.
As for eCommerce: by the end of 2020, 66.7% of all UK shoppers were using their mobile phones to order new products in comparison to just 5.74% on desktop. The Covid-19 pandemic giving mCommerce a spectacular boost.
Mobile friendly websites are the industry standard. Need a helping hand? Get in touch, we’d love to help!