The concept of responsive design is just few years old, website designers and owners had to put into serious consideration how their websites display on different devices. As the use of mobile and tablet devices increases daily, the need for a responsive design arose to allow sites fit in and display nicely across devices while retaining their primary content.
Now the question is why should I use a responsive design for my website? Will having a responsive design guarantee a good mobile user experience? Are adaptive layouts/responsive designs the best answer for my mobile design problems? ….and so many more.
Well, while I will not try to convince you to use a responsive design for your website in this article I sure hope to give you reasons to at least consider using them like I did with mine. I can’t guarantee you that responsive designs are the best answer for your mobile design problems or even a guarantee for a good mobile user experience. But before you finish reading this article I will tell you exactly what responsive design is all about.
What is Responsive Design?
According to Wikipedia:
Responsive design (often abbreviated to RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)
With responsive design you don’t have to maintain different sets of pages for different display scenarios. Almost every client these days want a mobile version of their websites, so are you going to design one for blackberry users? Maybe another for iPhone/iPad users and maybe in the next few years you will need to design for a number of additional new devices? You can’t possibly keep up with the endless new resolutions and devices. Or do we just forget some resolutions and devices and build for the ones we can? We may possibly lose traffic and customers from such. This is where responsive design comes in.
Responsive designs respond to their environment. Since the major difference in all these devices lies on the width of their screens, responsive designs rely on the width of the devices on which they are being viewed to serve different style sheets based on the number of pixels available.
Apart from the cost and time in developing different websites for different devices, large themes cause delays for both servers and end users, with server requiring more time to fetch all additional files, and of course the milliseconds add up. The end user on the other hand may get frustrated from waiting as such site is sluggish from the number of files it has to load. This increases your page load time and affects your bounce rate and of course your search engine ranking and earnings.
Responsive designs improve SEO since you have only one site rendered across all devices, all incoming/external links will point to one domain and aggregating all the traffic will increase your SEO value of the domain which will in turn improve your ranking on search engine results.
With responsive design you only publish your content once so you do not worry about duplicate content and search engines penalizing you for it. It’s easier to manage your content from a single place than separate sites.
Responsive designs are easier and cheaper to maintain, any changes made to the content and layout will reflect across all devices. This makes it easier and cheaper to maintain your site than having to individually manage all your sites for each device. With responsive design, you update once it reflects across all devices.
With responsive design you will make your website available to every visitor no matter the device they are accessing your site with. You may lose some amount of traffic if your website is not available to some certain device users, but with responsive design you can prevent this and thus help you extend your reach.
You do not have to worry about changing your website in the future or even creating new ones. Responsive design will take care of that need for you.
Must Read: The need for Mobile Device Management.
Now I hope I have been able to give you some important reasons to consider responsive design? Considering all the above, you may have to switch to a responsive design for your website. Do you have any contrary opinion about this post? Let me hear it, use the comment box below to share your opinions and view with me.