Why should my business have a responsive web design?
Responsive web design has become the go-to solution for businesses that want a user-friendly interface and higher customer retention. If your company has come this far without taking advantage of all the benefits it has to offer, you may already be starting to see lower visitor numbers and disappointing conversion rates.
As a responsible business owner, you may need to be convinced before paying to upgrade your web presence to one that includes responsive design. However, by opting in, you will soon see a return on investment that will make it worthwhile. In short, responsive design is better than ever and to keep up with the competition, you need it too.
Responsive web design is essential for most businesses as it allows your users to reach their goals quickly and smoothly. Important elements of your website can be displayed on a smartphone and appear as a fully functional original version, complete with all the utilities you offer customers on a laptop or desktop computer. If you fail to provide a mobile friendly experience like this to your visitors, they won’t hang around, they’ll just click and complete an action or purchase on a rival site.
Dissatisfied customers are not good for business nor are they against the major search engines. Google recently confirmed what many insiders have suspected for some time – sites that are not optimized for many users will lower their search rankings. Google bases their ranking on how useful the page is for the user’s entered query, plus the site’s utility – for example, can users complete the action they want?
Your page may be completely relevant to their search, but if visitors can’t easily access your content across multiple devices, your site may receive less positive reviews and be placed lower in search results. If your company is reduced to second or third page entries, you will lose a lot of traffic, because people naturally choose links from the first page.
Google has also shown that companies that have one responsive website – rather than one standard and one mobile version – are much easier to find for their bots, as there is only one URL.
If your site is responsive and ready to serve mobile customers, you can take advantage of many useful tools and applications such as click-to-call buttons, this allows web users to make voice calls to your company immediately. Potential customers can also read reviews about your business or even find you in a busy place using Google Maps, both of which are highly relevant to the needs of mobile users.
Branding is one way we build trusting relationships with customers and keep them coming back for the same. This has to do with responsive design for two reasons, firstly, people don’t feel confident on sites they can’t navigate easily and secondly, to create a unified brand, you need responsive design to produce a consistent web appearance; but your client contacted you.
In today’s market there are only a few reasons why companies may choose to stick with static designs on their web pages. Those who don’t really rely on web traffic to drive sales, or those who have few competitors, or those who have studied responsive design and found it just isn’t right for them. For everyone, if you want to stay on the cutting edge, responsive design is the only way forward for your website.
Responsive web design features
Until recently web designers created different pages depending on where they would be viewed, tablets for example had different screen resolutions than laptops, and content would be optimized for viewing on certain devices.
However, responsive web design has revolutionized the way users view the internet, it has created a holistic experience that allows us to view pages on our PC, smartphone or notebook in exactly the same way. When they build a site, designers use the same coding at a number of resolutions, giving each device the same level of functionality.
Responsive web designers believe that their clients’ web pages should be accessible to every visitor, providing them with an optimal experience, regardless of the device they are using. This kind of intelligent response to the actions of web users keeps your company relevant in the ever-changing online marketplace; it increases your ecommerce numbers and makes visiting your site a pleasant experience.
In technical terms there are three main features of responsive web design, the secret ingredient is generally considered media queries. These are filters added to CSS or Cascading Style Sheets, which affect the look and feel of each page. CSS is a very useful tool for web designers, but by tagging media query adaptations, the process of resizing, rendering, and orienting pages becomes much easier.
Another key to responsive design is a flexible layout, it’s based on grid formation, ideal for formatting margins, positioning key page elements, and getting spacing just right. This means a designer is not limited to a specific number of columns, they can choose as many or as few as is appropriate for the page. The flexible layout also eliminates the need to structure the layout and text size by pixels.
Instead, designers use percentages that allow them to adopt a much more fluid approach to producing each page. Pixels work well in photographic images, but are a clunky tool to use on a number of devices. One pixel can be expressed as three dots on a phone, but ten dots on a desktop, changes image quality considerably between devices.
The third component of responsive design involves using CSS or dynamic resizing functions to create flexible images, videos, and other content. Text can flow relatively easily when the containing area is resized, but to spread it over more complex segments, web designers need to use a different technique. Dynamic resizing gives web designers greater control over page behavior and allows them to add or remove components as needed.
Taken together, these technologies mean that visitors can enjoy a familiar feeling, regardless of what device they use, or will use in the future.
When mobile users switch from landscape mode to portrait mode, the intuitive design ensures that the page gets bigger or smaller. Furthermore, each element, be it an image, text box, or video will also resize itself to fit the different dimensions.
If you’ve ever tried to access a website and found it nearly impossible to navigate without shrinking and enlarging text or buttons, you’ll understand why responsive design is considered a good practice for most website owners.
Responsive web design Vs Mobile web design
Until recently, mobile web design was considered far more relevant to the modern consumer than its responsive counterpart, this approach sees designers using smartphones as a starting point and improving technology progressively, to notepads, desktop computers and beyond. This method means that the company needs two websites, one for their mobile page and one for PC users.
In the early golden years of mobile web design, there were several reasons why experts argued that web applications should always be designed first for use on mobile devices. Most importantly is the prevalence of smartphones and the fact that their popularity continues to skyrocket. By creating this platform that millions of users love, companies can promote their services or products to what is seen as the next generation of computing consumers.
Second, the mobile design is said to encourage a cleaner concept with no room for extraneous elements or unnecessary page clutter. On a screen that big on a phone, there’s not enough space for a crowdbar of extra buttons and widgets – instead, the design team had to focus on what was really needed. By giving users a clear route to what they want, it is assumed that their experience will be better, faster, making them more likely to return or convert them into paying customers.
Mobile apps are considered to have far more utility than PC based software, what users expect from their laptops pales in comparison to the capabilities offered on smartphones. From digital compasses, to gyroscopic effects, touchscreen input and voice control, the designers hope to build on these tools to produce modern web designs that are not limited by the limitations of the PC.
While there are pros and cons to deploying a mobile site to run parallel to the main site, responsively designed pages are ideal for retailers who want a robust, homogeneous website with lots of utility for each user. One site also simplifies marketing campaigns; only need to manage one site and one SEO strategy. Therefore, a website featuring a responsive design can save companies time and money, but also provide an easy and convenient way for customers to shop.
Responsive web design statistics
When a team of designers builds you a responsive website, you know it will adapt intuitively to whatever device it accesses, but where is the evidence to prove this is a factor in commercial success?
Content marketing company Brand Point found that more than 90% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by visual elements. In other words, if people visit your site and like how the place looks, they’re more likely to stay and buy.
Screen resolutions change all the time as new devices hit the market, web developer Spyderweb found that in 2010 there were only 97 unique screen resolution sizes, but in 2013 that number jumped to 232. The only way to deal with this increase is to have a website. responsiveness optimized for every customer, whatever device they prefer.
Customers are driven by high wait times and pages that take too long to appear; even as far back as 2009, 47% of people expected a load time of just two seconds on a web page. In a study conducted by cloud service provider, Akamai, it was also found that 40% of web users click if they don’t get access to the page within 3 seconds. That’s a pretty slim window of opportunity, and it’s fair to assume that people’s expectations have risen since this study was compiled.
While external factors such as lack of Wi-Fi or 4G can also affect waiting times, the importance of speed for business sites cannot be underestimated. Wed designers can write code for your responsive site that makes it selectively load the elements it needs, or even deliver graphics at a later stage.
Design is important because it can have a huge impact on the number of new visitors to your page, these are the people who have contacted you by typing in certain search criteria and decided to click on a link to your site. Web designer, Domain7, has reported that in the case of their client Regent College, there was a 99% jump in unique visitors after their overhaul of their responsive web design.
If your mobile page leaves a bad taste in your visitors’ mouths, they are less likely to take a good look at your entire organization, and they will tell their friends. Industry experts at Search Engine Journal found that 57% of people would never recommend a company that has poorly designed pages, solidifying the reason for a consistent web strategy that does what your customers want – no matter where they are.