Responsive website design is the technical term given to websites that adapt or respond to the size of the screen viewing them.
Such has been the massive increase in use of smart phones and tablet devices, that we have now moved beyond websites needing to be ‘mobile friendly’. A website can no longer be ‘friendly’ in its compatibility with these devices, it must work seamlessly. This is even more true as desktop usage is on the decline, meaning that some users will only ever access your site through a mobile device, so mobile compatibility can no longer be a secondary consideration.
A direct result of this huge increase in smartphone and tablet usage, is that the online consumer is now far more demanding.
Having often dedicated large sums of money to buy this state-of-the-art hardware, they expect the online content they view on it to be of the same high standard. So it’s no longer acceptable to have a website that is a mish-mash of versions for different devices, or worse, a single version that renders poorly across different devices.
Consistency of brand
And it’s not just the quality of the user experience that is important, it’s the continuity and consistency. One of the key aspects of responsive design is that of a consistent user experience. With consistency comes brand reinforcement, and importantly, consumer trust throughout a consumers online journey.
For example with a responsive website, if a consumer finds your website on a desktop PC, then continues to read your website’s content on their smartphone whilst on a train on their way home, they are able to continue their research into your product or service uninterrupted. In contrast, a traditional business website with a separate desktop site and mobile site may frustrate an end user because of the lack of complete content on the mobile site, or the inability to navigate through the full site on their smartphone, (zooming in and out is a nuisance), meaning they might give up the search altogether.
A responsive site provides complete continuity as the content and design remains 100% consistent irrespective of the device being used to view it.
If there’s one thing that Google (and other search engines) SEO loves, it’s consistency. The consistency in the end user experience is similar to the consistency of the back end coding behind the site. With a responsive website, Google only has one set of analytics to examine, resulting in higher search rankings.
So not only are responsive websites easier for a consumer to read, but they’re also easier for them to find too.
Technology moves fast, so new computers and mobile devices are being launched all the time.
Each new release of a smartphone typically comes with a new screen size. Samsung are making their screens bigger and bigger, Apple make theirs longer and thinner. With tablet’s, after the iPad came the iPad mini, again with another new screen size.
A responsive website is ready for any future releases of new products as no matter what the size of the screen, the content is able to intuitively adjust, making them - future proof.