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  • Su Guillory

Why You Should Be Using Responsive Design On Your Site

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

The way we use the World Wide Web and the wider Internet is changing fast. Once upon a time, web designers simply had to accommodate a range of typical monitor sizes, creating websites for the majority, and often ignoring the rest.


Apple iPad Tablet Concept

But in 2013, approximation and willful ignorance isn’t enough to give users a good experience, and a good experience is the key to profitability.


According to figures from NewMedia Trendwatch, 36 percent of UK Internet users access websites on smartphones, and a smaller yet still significant number 13 percent browse on a tablet. In the US market, more than 52 percent of mobile subscribers used their web browser; the rise in tablet usage is described as meteoric.


If you want these people to engage, browse and shop, you need to make it as easy as possible for them whilst protecting your own ROI.


Make the Best of Your Budget

The huge amount of variance between different connected devices means that web designers need to be equipped for a new challenge: they need to create a website that looks great on every screen. There are clearly two ways to go about this: create one website that adapts itself, or create several separate websites and try to keep them all up-to-date.


Mobile website design is a perfectly reasonable alternative to responsive design, but it’s still a compromise. Think about it: does a user on a 10 tablet see your desktop site or mobile site? Which is the most usable, the most suitable or the most aesthetically pleasing?


Mobile web design means increasing the budget needed for web development and maintenance. This means that the functionality of a mobile website is often trimmed down in order to keep costs under control, and that’s frustrating for users on smartphones and tablets. They simply can’t do the things they need to do. If you do the opposite direct them to the regular website they’ll need to pinch, scroll and double-tap to get anywhere at all.


Responsive design arguably offers a better balance of investment and performance. Although extra time is needed to build in extra features and shortcuts, the responsive elements allow you to re-use the same features and content in ever iteration of your website’s design. What’s more, it offers your end user a very usable and consistent interface across all devices, without the need to second-guess their needs.


Build for SEO

Whether you’re actively trying to improve your SEO or not, it’s always wise to bear optimization tactics in mind when developing websites. That means you should be eliminating duplicate content and ensuring visitors are always served the pages they expect to see. Unfortunately, mobile websites are a trap that can make both of these things more difficult to achieve.


With responsive design, each user visits the same page, the same content and the same URL. Only the layout differs. That means you can optimize your URLs effectively and avoid penalties for repeated content. If you like statistics and page counts, sticking to just one responsive site also helps to keep your analytics data and redirects simple and straightforward.


Of course, SEO is also about interactivity. If you want to encourage sharing, you can add a social sharing plugin or standalone buttons to any page, safe in the knowledge that every visitor will see a page that suits their device when they land on the shared URL.


Future-Proof Your Website with Responsive Design

Nobody knows what the future holds for web designers, but the surge in mobile device popularity suggests that the way we use the Web will diversify even further. As our appetite for mobile devices continues to grow, manufacturers will come up with all kinds of new formats.


What’s more, the humble TV set is slowly evolving into a media hub, connected to everything else in the home and providing web browsing capabilities from the family couch. Screen sizes could, therefore, range from four or five inches to several feet across.


Designing responsive layouts is the best way to ensure that your website will cope with an ever-increasing number of screen sizes, browsers and resolutions. In time, you’ll almost certainly need to make changes, but responsive design is the best insurance you will get against the trends of the future.

 Claire  Broadley  is a content writer for  www.WhoIsHostingThis.com  and understands the importance of building sites for mobile, tablet as well as desktop.

Photo:  Photo Giddy  via  Compfight

#responsivedesign #webdesign

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