Responsive design is going to be one of the biggest website trends in 2013. If you are one of the many people who don’t know what it is or have heard of it but have no idea why your business and website would benefit from it, read on. Trust us, this is something every marketing or technical manager needs to know about so you can determine the right time for your business to invest in it.
What is responsive design?
In a nutshell, responsive design is a development strategy that results in a single website that automatically resizes and reconfigures to adjust to various screen sizes and devices. This means that one single website can look equally amazing on a desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile phone and everything in between. Given that by 2014 mobile internet browsing is predicted to take over desktop internet usage (Source: Microsoft Tag, 2012), this is something you simply can’t afford to ignore.
Benefits of responsive design
Building a site using responsive design techniques can offer many benefits to your website, user experience and your return on investment.
Future-friendly: It seems like a new mobile device is introduced every week. Tailoring your site to deliver an excellent experience across every new device is nearly impossible, unless you invest in responsive design. Responsive design implements forward-thinking technology and allows sites to work on devices now and in the future. Because responsive design groups similar devices together by screen size, it is flexible enough to respond to any new device the market introduces.
Full site experience for mobile users: If you have a mobile site, you know that you are able to cater to the screen size of your audience but have to minimize content. This means that users are getting a less robust version of your site, which can impact your ability to achieve all of your site goals. With responsive design, the mobile experience delivers the full site, but with fewer bells and whistles so the site is uncluttered and easy to use.
Competitive edge: Chances are your competitors haven’t yet invested in responsive design, which gives you a perfect opportunity to deliver a superior web experience to all users. Because almost half of consumers are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn’t work properly during their last visit (Source: Gomez), this is your moment to outshine your competitors.
Search Engine Optimization: Building a website using responsive design is beneficial to your search engine rankings and Google endorses it as an industry best-practice. Using a single set of URLs for your website traffic, as opposed to splitting URLs between a standard site and mobile site, means consolidating your traffic numbers to one URL, which increases your website’s credibility and search engine ranking.
Save money: An investment in responsive design is just that, an investment. However, this investment will pay off in spades in the near and long term because you will not have to worry about how your site adapts to new devices entering the marketplace.
Integration with CMS platforms: Several CMS platforms, such as Sitefinity, seamlessly integrate responsive design code, saving development time and ultimately saving you money.
Responsive design or mobile design?
You may have already invested in a mobile site and, if so, that is great. For some businesses, it’s important to maintain a mobile site because the end user has very specific, narrow goals. But for most businesses, the ability to deliver a full site experience to all users – no matter their device – is a major win for both users and businesses.
What should you consider before implementing responsive design?
Responsive design isn’t right for every business. For example, if you have a website design that is outdated or your website isn’t exactly where you need it to be, you certainly don’t want to invest in recoding the site using that design. In some cases, pairing a website redesign and responsive design is the perfect combination to give you a fresh new look that supports your business on all platforms and devices.
So now that you know enough to be dangerous, let us help you decide whether it’s the right time for your business to pursue responsive design.
ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide.