Responsive web design: What it is and its benefits

At RealDesigns we often get asked by our clients the question – What is responsive web design and how can it be used to improve our website’s effectiveness?

Responsive web design is an approach to web design which aims to provide the best experiences for users on different viewing platforms such as mobile phones, tablets, desktop computers and large displays such as televisions. Responsive web design improves website usability by reducing the need to excessively scroll, zoom and search around a page for information. In essence, a website which has been designed responsively will adapt to the device on which it is being viewed. For example, the location of content may change, image and typography sizes can increase or decrease in size and other content may be hidden from view until a button is tapped to load it at a later date when requested by the user.

The term responsive web design was introduced by web designer and developer Ethan Marcotte. He demonstrated how fluid grid based websites using flexible images and media queries could be combined to provide an optimised user experience for site visitors across different user viewing devices.

RealDesigns.info is a responsive website built upon the popular WordPress platform. If you are viewing this website on your desktop computer try resizing your browser. When you do this you will see that the website changes or adapts to your viewport as it reaches certain breakpoints. These breakpoints have been specifically chosen to stop the webpage from looking muddled at different screen sizes on different devices from smartphone to desktop computers. We also serve different sized images depending on whether you are viewing this website on mobile or desktop computers. This prevents the user from downloading a huge image to their mobile phone which would take a long time on a slower mobile connection than for a speedier broadband connection on a desktop computer. We also conditionally load content to minimise download times for the user. Both approaches can improve your customer’s experience with your website by providing fast loading pages over slow connections. Customers will also love you for it because you will also be respecting their monthly mobile service plans which can be expensive once exceeded.

Responsive web design is becoming increasingly important because it is the best way to reach your customers across multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

The main business benefits for responsive web design are:

  1. Increase your reach to mobile users
    Global tablet and mobile sales are set to overtake computer sales for the first time ever. With this in mind it is important that your business optimises its online content for people on the go.
  2. Increase your sales and conversion rates through brand consistency
    By having a unified website rather than one website for your desktop users and another for your mobile users you help promote a consistent look and feel which is good for the user experience and perception of your company brand.
  3. Improved analytics and reporting
    By having one website analytics and reporting is significantly improved in terms of speed of reporting and usefulness.
  4. Improve your search engine ranking
    If you have one website for your mobile audience and one for desktop you run the risk of Google thinking you are duplicating content to artificially improve your search ranking. Responsive web design ensures that this does not happening by displaying content from one site only. Google is also rewarding website who follow a responsive website development approach in search results.

Please contact us at RealDesigns if you would like to further discuss how we can help you to improve your website offering to your customers.

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