The Benefits of Responsive Design
Written by: Jared Schneiderman
August 18, 2016
The popularity of responsive web design has been growing steadily for the past few years. There is now an abundance of frameworks, themes and templates built to create a seamless, responsive experience for the end user. However, there are still many businesses and website owners who are using a separate mobile site (or no mobile site at all, *gasp*). While there are certain cases where this may be the best choice, most people should know the benefits of a responsive design and consider making the switch.
1. Universal and Future Proof
With the explosion in innovation on the mobile front, we’re seeing a plethora of new devices hit the market on a regular basis. And each device seems to have its own specifications for screen resolution and size. This creates a problem when designing a website that needs to look good on any and every device. Fortunately, with responsive design you don’t have to worry about individual device specifics as your design will conform to whatever screen width or pixel density the phone or tablet might have. Any device that exists now or emerges in the future should be compatible with your website – unless of course there is some crazy device invention on the horizon!
2. Better SEO
If you want your website to rank high in search results, the best thing you can do is ensure that all of your SEO work isn’t lost on mobile devices. Some people opt for minimalist mobile sites with a contact form or phone call button. While this may be advantageous in certain scenarios, for many content heavy sites this can cause their SEO efforts to take a hit. The benefit with using a responsive design is that you can preserve all your content while still optimally displaying it to the user. And although it hasn’t been proven that Google actually factors responsive design into their rankings, they have said that it is their preferred design pattern.
3. Updating is Easier
Have you ever had to make an update to your website only to forget to also update your separate mobile site? This can be quite an issue if the change is important like a new phone number or a special customer message. But with responsive design, chances are you won’t have to worry about this. Though it depends on the specifics of the design, in many cases changing a phone number or updating content will be reflected on all versions of the site all at once. This saves you the time and headache of having to go through all the different versions of your theme to make changes. Of course, you may have some elements of your responsive design that are only visible at certain screen widths – so make sure to keep track of those!
4. Better User Experience
If you don’t have any mobile site whatsoever, I feel sorry for your users! There are very few cases where a standard desktop design will look good on a mobile device. Text and images will likely be too small and users will probably have to zoom in and drag around the screen to read content. This is not a good situation to be in. If you have a separate mobile site, your users’ experience will be much better on phones – but what about tablets? Sometimes the desktop version is not the best for a tablet, especially if it is one of the smaller ones.
Responsive designs allow you to target screen sizes and make adjustments for certain ranges. This way you can ensure that the end user experience is optimal across all devices, even if it is an odd sized phablet.
These are just some of the many benefits of responsive design. If you want to know whether a responsive design is right for your website or business, give us a call today or contact us online.