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Craig Greenup 17/03/23, 12:12
Remember those early smartphone days when desktop websites were squeezed onto teeny tiny screens? So you had to zoom in to read any of the text? And you felt like an elephant wearing boxing gloves every time you tried to click a button?
Thankfully, mobile friendly website design rescued us from painful smartphone browsing. And now the experience is much more enjoyable and intuitive. That’s because, these days, lots of websites use responsive web design.
So what does responsive web design look like? How does it compare to adaptive website design? And why is responsive design important for a business website?
Responsive web design means creating a single website that automatically responds and resizes to any device screen.
This helps to ensure an optimal user experience, no matter which device a person is using when they view your website.
A responsive website doesn’t just switch between desktop, tablet and smartphone versions. It is built to scale intelligently, based upon the size and resolution of any given screen.
Back in the day, mobile friendly websites were set up as a separate, additional site. Remember those m.example.com URLs?
Now, most websites are set up as one of two options: responsive or adaptive web design. So what’s the difference?
Adaptive website design uses templates. Different templates (usually around six of them) are created for different device screens.
It’s a best-fit approach. Website developers set parameters. And devices that fall within each parameter are served a different website template version.
Adaptive website design gives you complete control over the design for each screen size. But it involves a lot of work.
Each template has to be developed, designed, maintained and optimised for SEO on an individual basis. And you have to create new templates when new technology is released.
Which is why the majority of new websites now use responsive website design.
Wondering whether you need to make your site more mobile responsive? Here are all of the reasons why responsive design is so important.
According to the most recent stats, around 60% of global web traffic now comes through mobile phones. And in the UK, people are as likely to use their smartphone as their desktop computer or laptop when heading online.
With people accessing websites via desktops, tablets, smartphones and even their smart TVs, websites have to work well across all devices.
Today’s website users are picky. They expect a great user experience (UX). In fact, 88% of online shoppers said they wouldn’t return to a website once they’d had a poor experience.
Responsive website design ensures the best possible UX across all devices. So your website visitors never have to put up with slow, clunky or confusing pages.
And if they choose to visit your site using their smartphone one day, and their laptop the next, they can always count on the same, seamless experience.
This helps consumers to trust your company. It encourages them to revisit and recommend your website. Which translates into more traffic, more leads and more sales.
Responsive sites offer good UX. That means that, whatever the device, a user finds it easy to navigate your site.
They know how to find the information they need. High quality image and video comes as standard. And it’s clear where they should click next.
This makes it much more likely that your users will make it through your sales funnel – and to your checkout page. A responsive site makes it easy for users to travel this customer journey, and it helps to improve your conversion rates as a result.
Google uses the mobile version of your site to decide how to rank and index your website. Just take a look at this mobile-first indexing info.
This means that a responsive website that provides the best possible experience for users is more likely to feature on the first page of search results. Create a fast and responsive website, and more consumers will discover it.
A responsive website adapts to any screen size. And with new devices making their way onto the market all the time, responsive design is a way to future-proof your website.
A responsive site isn’t limited by a set of predetermined templates. Instead, it’s able to adapt to whatever the tech world throws at it next – even devices that are yet to be invented.
Work with a responsive web design agency and they’ll incorporate all of the following when creating your new website.
Responsive websites are often described as fluid. And it’s a useful image to keep in mind. When your website is fluid, it can flow to fit any device screen.
This is possible because – instead of using fixed numbers to indicate the size and spacing of web page elements – responsive design uses percentages.
Elements occupy the same percentage of space, no matter how big or small the screen.
For example, when comparing your website on a large and small laptop screen, you’ll see the same content, in the same layout, scaled to fit the screen.
However, when a user views your site from a smartphone, a breakpoint dictates a different layout – one that is better suited to the small screen size. For instance, you may see webpage content presented in one column, rather than in two or three.
By including a number of breakpoints in your responsive website development, you make sure that your website looks amazing on every screen size and resolution.
A responsive web design agency is likely to take a mobile-first approach to your website.
Mobile-first design means starting with a website layout that looks good and works well on a small smartphone screen. Then scaling things up to fit a bigger screen.
This encourages minimalistic design. And it helps to prevent too much information being crammed into too small a space.
A responsive website serves the same website version to users regardless of their device. Content is simply adapted and rearranged to ensure the same great user experience.
To do this effectively, designers will consider layout hierarchy. This means ensuring that any key messages are as prominent on one device as another.
So calls to action, eye-catching visuals and essential navigation functions are always positioned in all the right places.
The way users interact with a website varies depending upon the device they’re using.
Smartphone users like to swipe through a carousel of images. Or get diverted to a call screen when they click on your phone number. Or use a hamburger menu icon to access your navigation options.
Desktop users, on the other hand, interact with your website in the old-fashioned way – by moving and clicking a mouse. They can cope with more drop down menu options. And there’s the option for hover text and cursor-triggered animation.
The best responsive web design takes these interaction needs, expectations and preferences into account. Then develops interactive elements that work across all devices.
Responsive website design is incredibly important for a business website. It provides your users with the ultimate mobile friendly website experience.
Website visitors enjoy the same fast loading speeds, top-notch content and seamless UX across all devices. And you get improved SEO, better organic traffic and more conversions.
If you want to make your website look incredible on desktop, tablet and smartphone, then the Radical Web Design team can help.
Just get in touch to tell us about your website needs and we’ll get back to you soon.