The Truth About Responsive Web Design
Written by: Conrad Davenport
March 30, 2016
Over the last few years, one of the biggest buzzwords in the web design and online marketing industry has been the word “responsive” in reference to “responsive web design.” This simple buzzword has forced web design agencies and companies to make major shifts in their workflows, processes and strategies from the beginning of the project to launch; some for better and some for worse. But what we’ve learned in the last few years from our own experience is that what people really need is an education on what responsive web design is and what it is not, so let’s get started.
What Responsive Web Design is NOT
The way responsive web design is hailed by everyone nowadays makes it seem like there is no other option for your site. That’s the first myth. Responsive web design is NOT your only solution for making your site mobile friendly. The majority of web users wouldn’t even be able to tell whether the site they’re on is built with responsive web design or not.
While many marketers would have you believe it, Google also doesn’t force you to make your site responsive. Google just wants to see the same content on both the desktop and mobile sites, as well as make sure that your site is accessible and readable on mobile devices. A responsive site design is a great solution to this problem, but certainly not the only one. While responsive does NOT mean that your site will look the same across all devices, it does mean that your content will be readable and accessible in a way that is optimized on devices of all sizes. This makes Google and your clients happy.
Responsive Web Design Takes Time
With the substantial changes to processes and strategies mentioned above, one of the biggest is the amount of time a site takes to assemble. Now developers have to spend time not only developing a site to look good on a desktop monitor and multiple web browsers, but also optimizing the site to display on DOZENS if not hundreds of different screen sizes and web browser combinations. Does it look good on an iPad Air running Safari? What if the user turns the iPad and is using Google Chrome? How about an iPad Mini? The combinations are almost endless. This lengthens the development time and the testing time to ensure that the site renders well across the board.
Additionally, these changes greatly impact the marketing strategies implemented on the site, because users on a desktop computer often have a different need and intent then users on a mobile devices. This means they may need a different experience to ensure they’re able to quickly find the information they’re looking for and accomplish what they’re hoping to (contacting you, scheduling an appointment, finding your location, etc). This is just a small glimpse into the changes that have had to take place. It’s important to work with a web design company that understands these intricacies and knows how to make these adjustments to better understand and serve the user.
But There’s Good News!
With a few of the negatives out of the way, there is a reason that the idea of responsive web design has become so popular. When completed properly, the customized user experience across devices ensures that you always make a good first impression with your website. Additionally, responsive site design can also help save time when updates are needed, as all versions of the site share the same content and therefore can be updated from one place. This makes you happy, your clients happy, and Google happy!
Here at Advantage Internet Marketing, the majority of the sites that we’ve produced over the last year utilize responsive design because we understand that your users come to the site from a wide variety of devices. We’ve adapted our process and our strategies to not only work well with responsive design, but to take the full advantage of it to get you results. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business win the mobile game.