Close Menu

By Stacey Marler, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Is your website able to transform with changes?  Have you ever wondered how certain websites look great on your mobile phone but others leave you stuck zooming in and out to just view the page?  Have you ever done a web search, clicked on a displayed option, and then immediately clicked “back” because the site you selected shows up in micro-print?  In this article, we will examine the reasons you simply must look at adding “responsiveness” capability to your website.

Responsive web design (RWD) allows your website to display with maximum readability regardless of the device it is being viewed upon, whether it be a desktop, tablet or smart phone, and regardless of the screen size of the device.

A site built with responsive web design adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids and flexible images creating a pleasing viewing experience.  RWD has become critical because mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of total internet traffic. ["Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update 2014–2019 White Paper". Cisco. January 30, 2015.]

Let’s look at some of the key points why you should consider a responsive website:

1. Viewing Experience – If you have a website designed for a desktop it may difficult to view and use on a mobile device.  This requires the user to pinch or zoom in order to read the content and will eventually cause a frustrated customer to leave your website, or worse, the short attention span of today’s consumers means that many won’t even bother to zoom to read your site…they’ll simply click “back” and instead look for one of your competitors!  According to Google, “In the USA, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.”  The example below shows how a responsive website responds to a different viewing experience.

2. Google Recommends It – We all want to be at the top of a Google search.  While Google doesn’t release the actual methods of how site rankings work - they did announce that responsive websites will rank higher in searches, provided they are offering a better user experience.  So, if your website isn’t responsive, Google essentially penalizes you.

Figure 1 - Desktop Viewing Example
Figure 2 - Mobile Viewing Example

3. Mobile vs Responsive Design – Before websites became responsive a company would have to maintain two separate websites for making a mobile friendly website.  With all the different sized mobile devices in the word, it would be a large task to complete websites sized for every device in the world.  With RWD, it only takes the creation of one website and it will adapt to all current screen sizes and any new sizes in the future.  It’s a modern innovation that came in response to consumer wants and habits; today’s consumer expects an easy website viewing experience, and they won’t work very hard to view a site that isn’t responsive.

4. Cost – If you are currently looking at developing a website on a CMS platform such as WordPress; having a responsive website may not cost your anything at all!  When you are selecting a template to use for your website, make sure that it is an RWD theme or template.  The theme/template automates the process for you and will adapt to the viewing device without the need for any additional programming.

As more and more people use their phones for directions, purchases and searches it is critical to stay ahead of the game to increase the overall experience of potential customers as they visit your website.

Responsive website design is fast becoming the preferred method for creating a positive mobile website viewing experience for your current and potential customers.