What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive web design is still a relatively new approach to designing websites, even though the technology has existed for a while; but what is a responsive website exactly, and more importantly, why does your business website need to be responsive? This article answers those two questions in details, and also explains why having a mobile responsive website saves money in the long run.

The History

Back in the days, web developers only had to make websites look good on computers. That all changed when iPhones and other smartphones took over Internet. Developers initially dealt with this issue by creating mobile sites to complement their desktop sites; but as the number of smart devices exploded, it has become increasingly more difficult to account for all screen sizes, resolutions, aspect ratios and orientations. Responsive web design addresses this problem by making websites responsive to all devices, without having to create additional versions of the same websites. Our website, projectpii.ca, is an example of responsive web design. Look at the video below and see how our website scales as the display size changes. If our website wasn’t responsive, it would not scale and our site visitors would have to scroll horizontally to see the contents overflowing to the right. This means, users on mobile devices only have to scroll vertically to navigate through our website.

Why You Need a Responsive Site

Year 2016 was the tipping point between mobile and desktop usage. StatCounter reported that it was the first time worldwide mobile Internet usage, by site visits, surpassed desktop; and according to comScore, via Smart Insights, 67% of time spent on Internet that year was on mobile devices. Even on my own personal blog, desktop only accounts for 31.7% of the traffic in the last 12 months. So chances are, over 2/3 of the prospective customers visiting your websites are on mobile devices; and if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, they will likely leave before being converted into clients.

Nearly 8 in 10 of consumers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device – Adobe, via IronPaper

Mobile Apps?

There’s an app for everything nowadays, and if you go shopping for a new website, most agencies will add mobile apps to their quotes or proposals. However, for most businesses, having a mobile app is completely unnecessary unless your business has special requirements that call for one. Think about it, why would you even need a mobile app when your website is properly designed to be responsive and functions just like a mobile app? You don’t, it’s just a way for agencies to make more money. More on that later in a separate article.

Beyond Mobile

Even on desktop computers, modern operating systems such as Windows and Mac allow users to split a screen into two, which in most cases, changes the orientation of browsers from landscape to portrait. In addition, more and more smart devices such as Tesla’s cars and Samsung’s refrigerators come with web browsers built-in. You might think that having a web browser in a car or a fridge is just a gimmick, but there are actually business use cases for having one because it streamlines sales processes. So unless you want to risk losing business opportunities, you should make sure your business website is responsive.

Savings

While a properly designed responsive website costs more money to develop initially, you will save money on the long run by not having to design or maintain a separate mobile version of your website. Unless your business has special requirements that call for having a mobile app, a mobile responsive site is just as functional as an app, so you save money there, too.

Summary

Having a responsive website is key to providing enjoyable user experience to potential clients visiting your website, and you definitely don’t need to spend additional money on mobile apps for that. If your website isn’t responsive, why not contact us today for a free assessment? We are local to Regina and Kelowna, and would love to help you grow your business.