9 Benefits of Responsive Web Design
Is your website fully responsive & intuitive?
- What is responsive web design?
- History of responsive design
- Three concepts behind responsive web
- Benefits of responsive design
- Future of responsive web design
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design simply means making websites that can adapt to the size of the visitor’s screen size. The goal is for content to condense differently depending on the device or screen size so that visitors have best possible experience no matter if they visit site from desktop, tablet or smartphone. The main advantage of responsive web design is that website loads fast and without any distortions, so site visitors do not need to physically resize text and images in order to view content. Take this article for example, its layout changes based on the dimensions of the screen while maintaining a consistently responsive presentation, you can look at it on desktop and or on your cell phone, but due to responsive design features it will remain easy to read and navigate.
Short History of Responsive Design
So where did this responsive web design come from? With development of smartphones and tablets in mid 2000s, more and more consumers started using them to browse the web. Original websites did not look good on small screens and required time and effort to navigate and consume its content. That created a need of flexible layouts that would “respond” to the screen size and device type used.
Today the amount of people using smartphones to go online is much higher than those who are using desktops; according to sweor.com, “65% of site visits come from mobile devices and 85% of adults think that a company’s website when vied on a mobile device should be as good or better than its desktop website.”
In addition, Google implemented responsive web design, as a requirement for its search algorithm rankings. Therefore in order for a website to rank high it has to be mobile friendly. If in 2021 your website is not catering to mobile users, you will be out of business soon. On a flipside think about potential increase of business you should get once your customers have better experience browsing your site. If split is 65% mobile and 35% desktop, you will get a significant boost in traffic and sales instantly.
Three Concepts behind Responsive Web Design
- Media queries. Media queries are bits of CSS in a web page that can inspect the physical characteristics of the device requesting it (i.e., the width and height of the screen in pixels). This information is then used to make decisions on how the page content should be displayed.
- Fluid Grids. Generally, web pages are made up of columns and rows. Traditionally, this is done with the use of fixed widths, which are then filled with content. Responsive design tells the page to make the size of these containers relative to the screen size, rather than a fixed width. Instead of a block of content being a specific number of pixels wide, the block is instructed to take up, for example, 25% percent of the width of the screen. If the screen size changes, the block will change, too. When the width shrinks too much to be practical, the CSS then instructs the page to drop from a three-column to two-column page, then down to a one-column page, and so forth.
- Flexible Images. If a grid scales in size, then logically the images and text inside it need to scale also. Just like with fluid grids, images (or any content in a grid) are instructed to take up a certain percentage of pixel space relative to the container they are in. When the container scales, the images scale, too.
9 Benefits of Responsive Web Design
More mobile traffic
According to SimilarWeb.com more than 65% of traffic to top websites in the U.S. came from mobile devices in 2020. Therefore, it’s increasingly important for companies to have websites that render properly on smaller screens so that users don’t encounter distorted images or experience a sub-optimal site layout. While some businesses still choose to have a separate version of their website for mobile users, responsive design is becoming the norm because it offers greater versatility at lower development costs.
Faster mobile development at lower costs
Making one responsive website takes considerably less time than making a stand-alone mobile application in addition to a standard desktop website. Since time is money, responsive design naturally costs less than the alternative. Even if the initial investment of a responsively designed website does end up comes out to being more expensive than creating two separate websites, you’ll end up saving in the long run due to maintenance costs, special configuration costs of a website that uses two separate versions.
Lower maintenance needs
Maintaining a separate mobile site requires additional testing and support. In contrast, the process of responsive design uses standardized testing methodologies to ensure optimal layout on every screen. Having separate desktop and mobile sites also necessitates two content strategies, two administrative interfaces and potentially two design teams. Responsive design’s “one size fits all” approach means less headache for developers, business owners, and consumers. Spending less time on maintenance also frees up time to focus on more important things like marketing and content creation.
Mobile users in particular have short attention spans. Studies show that mobile visitors tend to abandon web pages that take longer than three seconds to finish loading. If a site isn’t optimized for smartphones and tablets, it will also take more time to navigate, which can frustrate customers to a point of no return. Ensuring that your responsive website uses modern performance techniques such as caching and responsive image display will help improve your web page loading speed.
Lower bounce rates
A responsive and optimized mobile site provides a much better user experience for the visitor. Therefore, it is much more likely that they’ll stick around for a longer period of time and explore different areas of your site. Alternatively, if your site isn’t responsive, it is much harder to keep the visitor engaged and therefore more likely that they’ll bounce.
Higher conversion rates
Lowering your bounce rate is only half of the battle. Creating a consistent user experience across all devices is key to converting new customers. When users decide whether or not to subscribe to a service, they don’t want to be redirected to device-specific websites, because the process often takes longer. You need to have a secure website that looks good & professional on all screens. Users will definitely appreciate it and be more likely to convert.
Easier analytics reporting
Knowing where traffic is coming from and how users interact with your website is necessary to make informed improvements. Managing multiple versions of a website requires developers to track users’ journeys through multiple conversion paths, funnels, and redirects. Having a single responsive site greatly simplifies the monitoring process. Google Analytics is a tool that cater to responsive websites by condensing tracking and analytics into a single report so that you can see how your content is performing on different devices.
Responsive web design became an important part of search engine optimization same as quality content. Stronger backlinks and better bounce rates translate into higher search rankings. Plus there is an extra “SEO ranking benefit” for mobile optimized websites.
Improved online browsing experience
First impressions are everything. When someone is visiting a website from their desktop or smartphone, you want them to have a consistently positive experience. If visitors must do a lot of zooming, shrinking and pinching, they’re likely to give up and try another website.
Takeaway or future of Responsive Web Design
The number of devices on the market continues to grow exponentially. Meaning study of responsive design will only become more complex. While it’s easy to assume that the benefits of responsive web design have all been discovered. We are probably still in the field’s infancy.
People are now accessing the web through virtual reality headsets. And smartphones have enabled the creation of entirely new types of applications such as reality games. Therefore it all leads us to believe that there will be no shortage of new challenges going forward.
Future concerns for developers will include the reduction of maintenance costs, ongoing search engine optimization and improved conversion rates. Recent advancements in responsive design have focused on accommodating smaller screens and this trend has no signs of slowing down. However, it is very important for business website to look good on Desktop and Tablet. As you don’t know from what device your next customer will come from.
Roman K 12/22/20