Responsive design is probably a term you’ve heard if you’ve been involved with any web design project over the last couple of years. A responsive website usually features flexible modules that can be resized or rearranged automatically to display the site’s content clearly on different sized screens. This means that whether someone views the site on a large computer screen, a tablet or a small mobile device, they’re equally able to read and view the content.
“People have been saying it’s time for all businesses to upgrade to responsive design for the past three or four years,” explains Swan Websites, a leading responsive website design agency in Sheffield. “The problem now is that people who didn’t follow that advice are lagging behind, and they’re starting to see the effects on their business. Responsive design is probably relevant to more than half of your website’s traffic at this point, so it is really important.”
It’s certainly true that the gap between businesses who took this advice earlier and those who didn’t is getting more obvious. Responsive design is a contrast to traditional static website pages, which usually don’t fit well on a small screen and often feature text or buttons that are much too small to read or use. Unfortunately, despite responsive design being widely recommended for several years now, many people and even businesses are missing out.
In fact, although traffic levels vary between industries and specific websites, many businesses are seeing more than half of their overall traffic coming from mobile devices. Since Internet access is as widespread as it has ever been, including mobile data coverage so people can get online from wherever they are, these figures are only increasing. Just a few years ago, web browsing was almost exclusively done on desktop computers and laptops, but the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices with Internet browsers has rapidly accelerated the growth of mobile browsing. As such, user requirements are very different now to what they were just five years ago.
Responsive design that works for mobile users should also have a positive effect on your rankings on search engines such as Google. Duplicating your search engine optimisation efforts across a desktop and mobile version of your site, or not catering for mobile users at all, leading them to bounce off your website, is likely to result in a poor return on investment. A modern, responsive site that’s free of clutter will prioritise your content above all else, which is what search engines like to see.
A responsive site ultimately means that users have much better access to your website as a whole, including the ability to contact you or even place orders directly. The easier you can make this, the better your conversion rate will be and the higher your profits. Improving your organic search traffic also contributes to a positive cycle effect. Investing in mobile-friendly responsive design can really pay off in the long run, and should help you stay ahead of global trends for some time to come.