Is eCommerce an essential part of your business plan? If it is, you probably know how important your website is, but you might not know why you should be using responsive web design. Here are some things you should know.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Maybe you haven’t heard of responsive web design or maybe you’ve heard about it but don’t know very much about it. Basically, responsive web design is a way to make sure your website looks good on all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones) by automatically resizing, hiding, shrinking, or enlarging. Here are some elements of responsive web design.
- Dimensions/Scaling - By adding a tag that sets the viewport of your web pages, you give browsers instructions on how to control the page's dimensions and scaling.
- Responsive Images - Using responsive images ensures that they will scale to fit any browser size.
- Max-Width - If you set the max-width property to 100%, the image will scale down when needed, but never scale up to larger than its original size.
- Different Images - You can show different images depending on the browser window size.
- Text Size - By using responsive text size, the text size will follow the size of the browser window.
- Buttons - Fingers are much larger than the pointer on a computer screen. Buttons and hyperlinks should be big enough to ensure all users can click them.
- Fonts - Make sure that your font can be read across all devices.
- Media Queries - Media queries allow you to define completely different styles for different browser sizes. For example, you could set elements of your page to display horizontally on large screens and vertically on small screens.
Why You Need It
There are many reasons why you should be using responsive web design. Here are a few of them.
- Flexibility - One big advantage of using responsive web design is the ability to adapt to different screens automatically. Responsive web design has flexible grids and images. A responsive website generates the best possible output, optimized for the tablet, desktop, laptop, smartphone, or any other device based on screen size and resolution.
- Engagement - Mobile-friendly versions of websites are often just stripped-down versions of the parent website. This is frustrating for users who chose to access the web from different devices. A user may a website using their tablet, continue later with their phone, and make a purchase from their desktop. A responsive website provides a seamless experience for the buyer's journey.
- Efficiency - Instead of optimizing for the web by developing different websites for different devices and redirecting the user to the appropriate website, responsive web design allows web content and design to be done just once.
- Consistency - By ensuring that content is developed just once, a responsive website does more than save development work, it also gives you a unified approach to content management, which creates consistency of voice and content.
- Future-Proof - Over time, changes in technology can render your website obsolete and potentially inaccessible until you make upgrades, but responsive web design is future-proof, which means users will get a seamless experience, without waiting for developers to make updates.
- Marketing - Different versions of your website for different devices can make it hard to integrate your marketing programs. With a responsive web design and data from Google Analytics, however, you can customize your web pages based on your target audience’s behavior and your marketing objectives.
- SEO - Responsive web design helps with SEO because a single URL for desktop and mobile sites makes it easier for a search engine to discover your content, assign relevant indexing properties to it, and eliminates the risk of flagging two different versions of your website for duplicate content. A responsive website also eliminates the need for duplicating SEO chores for each version of your website.
- Local Rankings - Responsive web design makes your website compatible with mobile devices, which makes it easier for mobile users to identify and access your website when making local searches.
- Link Building - Running multiple versions of the same website is not great for link-building efforts since link building has to be done from scratch for each version of your website. Responsive websites eliminate this redundant work.
- Brand Loyalty - Brand loyalty comes from consumer behavior and is driven by a person’s preferences. By offering consistency across devices, responsive web design helps build brand recognition with a smooth viewing experience and greater customer satisfaction.
If you want to know more about web design, read our article, Four Ways of Getting Affordable Web Design and Development, or contact us.
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