Responsive web design is a buzzword that has gained a lot of traction in recent years, but if you have yet to explore its meaning and its implications, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
To bring you up to speed, here is a brief introduction to responsive web design that should help you realize why it is so vital today.
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Responding to a mobile world
Today, the majority of website visits are carried out on mobile devices. This means that it is sensible to ensure that users can enjoy a consistently solid experience no matter what kind of hardware they are using.
This is a challenge, since modern smartphones come in all shapes and sizes, with different operating systems and browsers as well as a wide range of hardware specifications to take into account.
Responsive web design intends to enable each page to automatically adapt to ensure that cross-compatibility can be achieved. Whether the visitor is using a desktop PC with a 27 inch monitor and a 4K resolution, or a smartphone with a 6 inch screen and a 2400×1080 pixel count, a responsive website will have no trouble scaling to fit.
This is why making the most of an experienced UX/UI design agency is important when building a new site or updating an existing one. Wrangling the responsive design process to provide the best experience and allow visitors to convert into loyal customers requires expert assistance.
Accommodating varied input methods
Another aspect of the modern marketplace which makes responsive design important aside from resizing media content and interface elements to look good regardless of screen size is that the means by which visitors interact with websites can be wildly different.
For smartphone users, the screen of the handset will be the main portal through which they press buttons, scroll through content and generally navigate the site. For desktop and laptop users, mouse and keyboard are still ruling the roost.
Responsive web design is so significant because it lets you present your site in a compelling way and also make sure that it is accessible to everyone. This is also relevant in the context of catering to customers who have disabilities, where things like fiddly interface elements will really hamper the experience and could be costing businesses billions in sales.
Search engine optimization
The fact of the matter is that if you want your website to appear prominently on Google’s results pages, you need to make it mobile-friendly. Responsive web design is a straightforward way of showing the search algorithm that your site is pitched at the broadest possible audience, in line with the mobile-first approach that is becoming the norm at the moment.
Furthermore, mobile optimization will only continue to become more integral to good SEO practices going forward, since it is not just searching and browsing which are dominated by portable devices but also e-commerce transactions and a whole host of other online interactions. Failure to adapt will leave your site languishing in obscurity, while responsive rivals rise to the top of SERPs.
The final advantage of responsive web design which is worth noting from both an SEO and overall usability point of view is that a well-optimized, responsive site will offer faster page load speeds. This is very important in the mobile space where connectivity is less reliably quick and users may also have data caps to worry about.
Any improvements to mobile performance will, of course, have a knock-on effect for desktop users as well, meaning that there is a bucket-load of reasons to embrace responsive web design right now.