What is Responsive Web Design?
Mobile devices have now become an integral part of our online experience. According to Google, three out of four smartphone users turn to mobile search to address their on-the-spot needs before they look anywhere else.
Because of how common and important mobile has become, it is imperative that websites now have responsive web design.
In this post, we will talk about what responsive web design is, how it works, why it’s so important, and how to test if your web design is fully responsive or not.
Responsive Website Design: Explained
Responsive website design refers to the practice of allowing web pages to seamlessly render and display on all types of devices and screen sizes by adjusting the size and position of all the elements on the web page on the fly.
Responsive websites are also known as mobile-friendly websites because they easily adapt to smaller screen sizes automatically.
How Does a Responsive Website Work?
A mobile responsive website is adjusted automatically based on the size of the user’s screen. So regardless of what device a website visitor may be using, your website design won’t break.
As you may know, each web page on a site contains lots of HTML code and elements (text, videos, images, etc.). Those elements on a web page are then styled with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) files.
For a simpler explanation, imagine two different websites: a non-responsive website and a responsive website.
The non-responsive website would have a few CSS files that govern the appearance of the website. On the responsive website, there would also be an alternate set of CSS files that would allow the site to ‘respond’ differently based on the device they are using.
In other words, responsive website design works through CSS files that use different settings to service different style properties. The decision to use those different style properties depends on the user’s device. Some of these responsive web design CSS properties include media queries and viewports, for example.
The Importance of Responsive Web Design
Now that you understand what responsive web design is and how it works, we should talk about the importance of responsive web design.
Does your website need a responsive design? The short answer is yes.
In the early 2000s, the digital marketing landscape was very different. Websites didn’t need to be responsive because people were not using mobile devices — of varying screen sizes — to surf the web, find information, and make purchases online.
Now, times have changed. More than 54 percent of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Moreover, 57 percent of online users say that they won’t recommend an online business website that isn’t mobile-friendly.
A responsive website that perfectly caters to online users with all types of devices and screen sizes is the need of the hour. If you want to be competitive online, you must have a responsive website design.
Responsive Web Design and SEO
Because so many online users use mobile devices to search for information and products online, a responsive web design also has a huge impact on SEO.
Google has also recognised the importance of mobile and moved to a mobile-first index. Earlier in 2015, Google announced that the mobile-friendliness of a website would be a search engine ranking factor.
So, if your website does not look good or function properly on mobile devices, it does not have a realistic chance of ranking well on the search engine results pages.
More specifically, a responsive web design has the following SEO benefits:
- Google may prioritise your website if it is mobile friendly
- Better customer experience for mobile users resulting in increased engagement, retention, and conversions
- Lower bounce rate that can affect search engine rankings
- Faster page load speed that can affect search engine rankings
- Increased website credibility and authority for search engine visitors as well as search engine crawlers.
How to Test If Your Website is Responsive?
There are many free tools available out there that you can use to test if your website design is responsive or not.
One of the most popular and simple tools to test the mobile responsiveness of your web design is Responsinator. Simply paste the URL of your website and see how your site design looks on different screen sizes and orientations.
Here is an example.
The tool also allows you to use the website, visit different pages, navigate the menu, scroll, click on buttons to test functionalities, etc.
Some other popular tools are:
The digital landscape is changing fast. Mobile has already become an integral part, but it is expected to play an even bigger role in the near future. Embracing responsive and mobile-friendly web design is your first step toward staying competitive.
If you are serious about your online presence and want to make sure that your mobile website visitors get the best experience possible, give us a call on 0330 330 0981 or fill out our online contact form.