What is a responsive website design?
How often do you open a website link on your phone and it’s a complete mess? You know, when the text is so tiny you can’t even read it, images are cut off and you have to zoom right in to click a button.
This is because the website is not optimised for your device.
A responsive website automatically adjusts the look and navigation to suit the screen size of any device, whether desktop, tablet or mobile. This makes it easier for users to find what they want on your website, creating a better user experience.
On a large desktop screen you can fit more content and bigger images because there’s space, but on a mobile it’s important to have short sentences, big buttons and immediate contact options. An effective responsive design will automatically recognise the device and reformat the entire page to suit.
Why is a responsive design important?
Think about your own life, how often do you view social media, emails, websites, videos and pretty much everything else online? Do you wake up and switch on your PC or do you grab your Smartphone and swipe away? Most people will relate to the latter.
At the beginning of 2014, the percentage of website browsing occurring on mobile and tablet devices (according to SmartInsights) was 30%. It’s expected to reach 50% before the end of the year. Social media started the trend and email open rates are exactly the same.
The question of whether or not to optimise your website for mobile is no longer an option. It’s a necessity if you are serious about converting sales and interacting online. People are too busy to waste time on non-responsive designs.
If you aren’t capturing mobile traffic, you aren’t utilising the web effectively. That’s why it’s important to research your typical user activity and invest in a responsive website design.
Important: A responsive website design will generally increase your retention rates but it does not guarantee conversions. That comes with a targeted digital strategy.
Many businesses believe that catering to the mobile and tablet market will guarantee success online. This is untrue. While having an attractive responsive design will help customers view your content on any device, your strategy still needs to improve their experience further through targeted product listings and valuable or rewarding content.
Do you need a responsive design?
The best thing is that it’s never too late to get a responsive design happening for your business. However the sooner you do it, the better off you will be.
Important: The best place to start is with your own analytics
The first thing you need to do is take the time to research and understand your online market. There is so much data out there that can assist with analysing your industry and your customer segmentation.
Google, the world’s most popular search engine, offers a number of great tools to help segment and analyse your own traffic. You can easily find out how many people are viewing your websites, what pages and for how long, and most importantly what device they are viewing it on.
This provides you with the insight you need to customise your web experience. You can cater to the most prominent segments, providing exactly what your audience is looking for.
How can I make an existing design responsive?
You don’t need a new website to make it responsive, however that’s being said, sometimes it’s a lot easier and more cost-effective to simply start from scratch. The best solution for your business is determined by the quality of your existing web assets.
Some additional food for thought: It’s not just your business website that needs to be responsive. A responsive design can also be applied to all marketing emails, so they can be correctly viewed on all computers, tablets and Smartphones.
Does a responsive design take longer to load?
In short: no. Research has shown that almost three quarters of responsive website designs have the same load-time regardless of what device they are being viewed. The load-time of any website is largely determined by the connectivity of the device it is being viewed.
How much does a responsive design cost?
The cost of implementing a responsive design is generally calculated on a case-by-case basis. The main cost factor will be determined by how large your website is and how long ago since it was updated.
As mentioned before, if your website design is really old then it may be more cost-effective to simply start from scratch – transferring your existing content to a new CMS system that caters for responsive design.