Responsive design means designing a web page so that the content is resized, moved or hidden when viewed on different devices. Without responsive design, web pages can be difficult to read or navigate when using a mobile device.
If you’re on a desktop or laptop computer, try clicking and dragging the corner of this window to resize it. You’ll notice that rather than just making the content smaller, resizing the window causes the menu to change, the text to shift and resize, and the links on the right-hand side to move to the bottom of the page. This is responsive design in action.
Do I Need Responsive Design?
In short, yes. Half of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, so it is increasingly important to make sure that these users can access your site. Furthermore, Adobe have found that almost 80% of users would stop engaging with web content if it didn’t display well on their device. Therefore, unless you can be certain that your target audience will be viewing your site from a desktop computer, designing your website with mobile in mind is a must. In fact, some organisations are now designing ‘mobile-first’ websites to engage their increasingly mobile-dependant audiences.
It is important to bear in mind that Google continually updates its ranking algorithms to reflect the needs of the average consumer. Mobile-optimised sites are likely to appear higher in search results, especially if your competitors are readily embracing responsive design.
If you’re not currently able to facilitate a shift to responsive design, there are things you can do to make your site better optimised for mobile devices. For example, resizing (not just scaling) images to reduce loading times, and reducing the number of redirects within your site, can vastly improve the user experience. Google’s ‘Test My Site’ tool can analyse your site and give easy-to-read recommendations on how to improve it for mobile devices.
Remember, your website should be built with the needs of your clients in mind. Consider any changes carefully, and make sure that everything you do will ultimately improve the user experience.