When we say a 'responsive web design', what we mean is a website that has been designed in such a way that it will physically adapt its sizing and layout in a dynamic manner in order to fit the screen of the device using it whilst maintaining legibility and usability. This ensures for the best possible experience for the end user, but it also provides some key benefits on top ticking some of Google's recommendation boxes. Not so sure?
Ofcom published a report back in August 2015 which found that at least two thirds of the UK population owned a smartphone and would spend a minimum of two hours every day browsing the internet, using social media, shopping online and even carrying out their online banking. Also in the report was, 33% of all internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, not only this but we actually browse online for twice as long as we do using laptops and PCs. It is because of this that the way in which we view our website's design is more prevalent than ever, if more users are visiting on mobile devices and our websites aren't catering to their dimensions then that is a massive portion of our audience we are potentially losing.
Previously Ofcom had reported in 2014 that 22% of people would first use their phone for surfing the internet, this alone proves a genuine increase in mobile use for online purposes. That's not all though, the improved 4G coverage in the UK has also played its part in how we use mobile devices online. Over the course of 2014, 4G subscriptions took a huge leap as they went from just 2.7 million to 23.6 million – and that was over 2 years ago!
This on its own shows just how important it is for you to ensure your website is up the job when it comes to mobile users be it a smart phone or tablet.
It is very well known that Google continually update their recommendations on website design. The way in which they view a site and graded it based on how it conforms to their tick list of do's and dont's has very much grown to incorporate responsiveness. You will find yourselves now being hit quite severely by Google if your site fails to meet their expectations. Most recently Google announced that websites that do not offer responsive design for mobile users would find their listings dropping off the face of Google's mobile results, whilst site that do optimise for mobile platforms will find themselves being rewarded.
A responsive website's content is 'fluid', it reacts to the screen that is viewing it and physically adapts itself for the job in hand. So no matter what the device is, laptop, PC, smart phone or tablet, you can rest assure that your content is being delivered to the end user in an optimised way, making for a happier visitor.
Next we have usability. Visitors to your website want it to be easy to view the content, press the buttons and navigate about your site, and so by resizing the elements on your website to fit to their device ensure of this – easier use naturally bring with it more interest and business.
The old method for dealing with mobile devices is to have a separate mobile site that is design specifically for mobile screen – you remember right? Well those days are over and we don't do that any more since we can now do it all with responsive web design. The benefit is clear, it means we only have to worry about one single website rather than one for mobiles, one for PCs and one for tablets; now that's a lot more manageable! Plus we won't be penalised by Google for using an obsolete method that goes against their recommendations.
With the importance of mobile-suitable websites increasing exponentially, we should all be taking a good look at our websites to ensure we conform. If we don't, then there are a multitude of web designers out there, in fact a web design business based in Leicester called Acethespace Design have recently pledged their focus on this such issue and promise a service that easily guides you through the process by analysing just exactly what needs to be done in order improve the design of your website – and more and more designers seem to be following this behaviour to improve the internet for modern browsing.