Responsive design occurs when a website is put together so that it automatically scales its content and elements to match the screen size on which it’s been viewed. It keeps images from being larger than the screen width and prevents visitors from mobile devices from needing to do extra work to read your content.
The main goal of responsive design is to avoid unnecessary resizing, scrolling, zooming, etc that occurs with sites that have not been optimized for different devices. It’s often very difficult to navigate these sites, and it’s going to cost you potential customers who become frustrated with trying to work out the way to do something.
Responsive website design even replaces the earlier need of designing a dedicated mobile website for Smartphone users. Now, rather than designing multiple websites for various screen sizes, you’ll design only one website that scales up or down automatically to match the device it’s being viewed on, no matter if its a phone, laptop, or tablet.
Why should you invest in responsive design?
We live in a multi-screen society. Due to this, your site must be viewable across as many devices as possible, because you never know what device someone are going to be using to look at your website. Responsive website stats suggest that it knows appeal to both desktop and mobile viewers.
The number of mobile viewers now outnumbers desktop, and this number will only continue to rise as global Smartphone accessibility increases.
Benefits of Responsive Design
Here are a few benefits of responsive web design.
1. More mobile traffic
According to a report from the Similar Web, more than half of traffic to top websites in the U.S. came from mobile devices in 2015. Therefore, it’s increasingly important for companies to possess websites that render properly on smaller screens in order that users don’t encounter distorted images or experience a sub-optimal site layout. While some businesses still prefer 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.
2. Faster mobile development at lower costs
Making one responsive website with the help of a leading web design company takes considerably less time than making a separate mobile application in addition to a standard desktop website. Since time is money, responsive design naturally costs less than the substitute. 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, etc of a website that uses two separate versions.
3. Lower maintenance needs
Maintaining a separate mobile site requires additional testing and support. In contrast, the method of responsive design uses standardized testing methodologies to make sure 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 fewer headaches 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.
4. Faster pages
Studies show that mobile visitors tend to abandon sites that take longer than three seconds to end loading. If a site isn’t optimized for smartphones and tablets, it’ll also take longer to navigate, which may frustrate customers to some extent of no return. Ensuring that your responsive website uses modern performance techniques like caching and responsive image display will help improve your website loading speed.
5. Lower bounce rates
A responsive and optimized mobile site provides a way better user experience for the visitor. Therefore, it is much more likely that they’ll stick around for a longer period and explore different areas of your site. Alternatively, if your site isn’t responsive, it’s much harder to keep the visitor engaged and thus more likely that they will bounce.
6. Higher conversion rates
Lowering your bounce rate is only half of the battle. Creating a consistent user experience across all devices is the key to new customers. When users are deciding 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. Having one secure website that appears professional on all platforms makes users less likely to urge frustrated or address a competitor.
7. Easier analytics reporting
Knowing where traffic is coming from and the way users interact together with your website is important to form informed improvements. Managing multiple versions of a website requires developers to track users’ journeys through multiple conversion paths, funnels, and redirects. Having one responsive site greatly simplifies the monitoring process. Google Analytics and similar tools now cater to responsive websites by condensing tracking and analytics into one report in order that you’ll see how your content is working on different devices.
8. Improved SEO
Responsive web design is becoming as important to SEO as quality content. Stronger backlinks and better bounce rates translate into higher search rankings, but there is an extra SEO benefit for mobile-optimized sites.
Having a single responsive website rather than separate desktop and mobile versions avoids the problem of duplicate content, which can negatively impact your search ranking.
9. The improved online browsing experience
A first impression is everything for the customers, so whether someone is visiting a website for the first time, you want them to have a consistently positive experience. If visitors must do a lot of zooming, shrinking, and pinching their screens during their first visit, they’re likely to give up and try another website.
10. The improved offline browsing experience
Now that many Smartphones and tablets are HTML5 enabled responsive web design benefits users by making it easier to continue viewing the content within HTML5 web applications without an internet connection. Learn more about HTML5 Application Cache.
The future benefits of responsive web design
As the number of devices on the market continues to grow exponentially, the 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 hammered out but we are 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 augmented reality games, so there will be no shortage of novel challenges going forward.
Future concerns for developers will include the reduction of maintenance costs, ongoing search engine optimization, and improved conversion rates. Most recent advancement in responsive design has focused on accommodating small screen and this trend has no signs of slowing down. However, it’s also important to not forget users using larger displays so that everyone has similar user experience in the end.