Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Why Your Website Should Be Responsive

The days when the internet was accessed from only a desktop or laptop computer are long gone, with an increasing number of users now surfing the web on tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices. The traditional way of serving mobile clients was to design one website for computer users and another for mobile users. However, there is now such a huge range of mobile products on the market that this strategy is no longer viable. Nowadays, anyone who is planning to develop a website to showcase their products or services will need to meet the challenge of making the user experience just as positive, whatever device is used to access it.

The best way of achieving this is by opting for a responsive website design.

What is a Responsive Website?

A responsive website is one that is designed to respond to the device that the visitor is using to access it. Whether the device is a desktop or laptop computer, a notebook, iPad, android phone or tab, the website, including its images, text and other content, should automatically be moved around to accommodate the size of the screen. In other words, the site should present equally well, whatever device is being used to access it.

The trend towards greater mobile use seems certain to continue and, ultimately, it is likely that more websites will be visited from a mobile device than from a desktop location. It is essential therefore, that website owners ensure that mobile users are provided for in their site’s design because, as we demonstrate below, there are several benefits that the responsive website provides that the non-responsive site cannot match.

Benefits of a Responsive Site

Because the site is designed so that its content is adapted to correspond with the size of the screen, the user can view all of the site content without having to scroll up and down and/or side to side, whatever the device is being used. This is not the case with a non-responsive site. Obviously, a user is much more likely to remain on a site that is easy to access and looks and feels good because it has been optimised for the device that they are using.

Responsive sites load equally quickly on all devices. Non-responsive websites, which have been designed with only desktop and laptop users in mind, can take much longer to load on other devices, often resulting in the user cancelling the visit to the site before it even began!

Many people now use multiple devices to access the internet. It can be irritating for a website to present well on one occasion and less well on another purely because it is being accessed from a different device. A responsive website enables users to view its content seamlessly, regardless of the device they are using.

Technology is constantly developing, with different mobile devices of various sizes appearing on the market every day. A responsive website will be capable of being viewed on any new or updated devices without the need for it to be redesigned.

Website users who are pleased with the way a site looks regardless of the device they are using are far more likely to become repeat visitors and to tell their friends and colleagues about the quality of the site. The consistently positive user experience provided by a responsive site is likely, therefore, to have an immediate and positive effect on the site’s conversion rates.

Take a look at the example of our own website above. Notice how the site looks slightly different on the four different screens sizes. This effect is created by coding the website responsively.  This offers the user an experienced optimised to the size of device they are using.

The benefits of responsive websites over their non-responsive counterparts and the ever-increasing movement towards greater mobile use for accessing the internet mean that website owners should always look for a responsive design. Not only will it ensure that the user experience is a pleasant one, it is likely to result in more visitors to the site, a higher profile and, ultimately, more business.

Why Your Website Should Be Responsive