Why is responsive web design important?

First impressions count, and responsive website design is necessary to create a great first impression online. We Make Media explains what it is and how to achieve it

A responsive web design is an absolute must when creating your small business website. Your site is an online extension of your business and it’s important that anyone using your site has a good experience, and can quickly and easily complete the task they came for.

Responsive website design is where the pages of your site automatically adapt to display on different devices and screen sizes. Whether on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, your website content should scale to match the relevant screen size. For example, the content may be displayed in two columns on a laptop but only one on a smartphone.

Most websites today are responsive; you have probably stumbled across the odd site that is not mobile-friendly while browsing on your phone. You may have had to scroll, pan or zoom in to see the content properly. Perhaps the images were wider than your phone screen and you had to zoom out to see them. But this made the text too small to read so you had to zoom back in. It’s not a good user experience, is it?

How does responsive web design work?

There are three key features for a website design to be considered responsive.

  • A flexible grid foundation that allows content to be resized and stacked for a better flow
  • Flexible images that automatically resize to fit the screen
  • Mobile navigation that often uses a hamburger menu

Essentially, what makes a website design responsive is simply good website design.

A website design must function in several ways to be successful. You cannot possibly know which device or screen a user will view your website on, so you need to ensure it’s viewable across as many as possible.

In recent years, the number of people browsing and searching on mobile devices has outstripped those on desktops. Consequently, Google has made mobile-friendliness a factor in search engine rankings, so if you want your website to do well in search results, it must perform well on mobile devices.

Responsive web design is also important for people like us who design and build websites. It means we don’t have to design different sites for all the various devices that exist. Instead of having multiple versions, we can focus on building one site, without the need for redirects to send users to other versions. This saves money as you don’t have to pay for multiple versions, and it saves time as there’s only one website to update.

A strong, responsive website makes the experience more enjoyable for users, less confusing and easier to navigate. This creates a good impression of your business, motivates users to spend more time on the site and hopefully converts them into paying customers. According to Google’s Think Insights, Internet users are 67% more likely to buy a product or use a service after a positive experience with a business online.

It also allows web designers to future-proof your site against new technology that could otherwise impact its functionality.

If you are unsure if your current site is responsive, there’s an easy way to check. Firstly, open Google Chrome and go to your website. Open Chrome DevTools by pressing Ctrl + Shift + I (Cmd + Option + J if you are using a Mac), then toggle to the device toolbar by pressing Ctrl + Shift + M. This will allow you to view your site design on mobile, tablet and desktop to see how it displays.

If you find issues on any of these devices, it could be a sign that it’s time for a website redesign. If that’s the case, you should choose the best web design company for your needs.

We Make Media is a Devon web design company. We’ve been helping small businesses grow in Devon and throughout the West Country since 2010. If you’re interested in a website redesign for your business, we would be happy to discuss how we can help. Book your free discovery call.

Jeff Cooper. 22 November 2022

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