Responsive website design: What it is and why it matters
Stepping up your business with a beautiful new website is without a doubt a feel good feeling. Opening a webpage on your computer and having a look at your online presence can give you the impression that your site will look like this across all platforms, but unless your designer has put in the effort to ensure that your site is flexible enough to respond to all browsing devices, your website is not going to look the same on your phone as it does on your PC.
This might not seem like a big deal. In fact, you might just brush it off, thinking that as long as your website is at least visible on a mobile phone, it should be good enough to read, but there are many reasons why having a site that is not fully responsive is actually harmful to both your online appearance and your company overall.
What is website responsiveness?
Basically, when your website is built in such a way that it will look the same across all platforms, such as smartphone devices, tablets, laptops and PCs, it is said to be responsive. Even though the size of the screen has changed, the website still retains the most of its design and visible content, and it is still laid out in such a way that it is super easy to read.
Naturally, a few things might indeed change. For example, your menu might be a little compressed and the site might not include all the images, sliders and animation, but the basic necessities of the site will still be there, so clients can still understand what it is that you are offering and they will still have an easy way to contact you.
There are two common ways in which a website can be built to be responsive. The first, and most common because it makes website design so affordable, is through the use of a prebuilt template. There are good and bad templates, but your designer will be able to provide you with the best options. Templates are usually created to be fully responsive, with only a few clicks ensuring that the site compresses itself when accessed via a mobile device.
The other example of design, is the fully customised approach. A customise built website is generally the type that is built using complicated coding and it is built for a very specific purpose. These kinds of sites are common amongst clients with online shops and those who need a site that allows clients to submit sensitive data via the site. When a site is custom built, it is up to the developer to ensure that the site responds correctly.
Now, you should not have to instruct your designer as to whether or not the site should be responsive, as the best designers will usually make sure that the site is responsive regardless. But if you are unsure, you should always bring it up and ask if the site will be built this way.
Responsive Design Matters
As of 2020, around half of the world’s population are using their mobile devices to access the web and in South Africa alone, 31 million people accessed the web using their phones in the last year.
When you consider how many people are using their smartphones to browse the web, and you link that with the statistics which show that up to 70% of buyers will research a purchase online before buying, you can see why having a responsive site is so important.
Along with this glaring benefit of having a responsive site, other benefits include:
- User Friendliness
Web users want to access information with ease. Websites must be easy to view and easy to interact with. Anything complicated can drive business away from you, and to your competitor. The better your website is in terms of responsiveness, the more traffic you will have, and thus the more opportunities you will have to convert visitors into paying clients, all because the mobile version of your site is user friendly.
- Faster Speeds
A fully responsive website is also going to work a whole lot faster, which is something you should really want. Why? Because users are inclined to click away from a site when it is too slow.
- Brand Building
And then you also need to remember that a website is a reflection of your company, so if it is broken or unsightly, that alone can push clients away. Your website is often your company’s first impression and so you need to make the most of it so that you can benefit from brand building.
Responsive design absolutely matters. Without it, your website will no longer be fulfilling that all important function of being your around the clock sales person. Instead, it could become a liability, something that does you more harm than good.
As the use of smartphones continues to grow, and more people have easy access to the web from the palm of their hand, it will really benefit you to make sure that the site you have is suitable for these types of web users.
Google Recommends Responsive Design
With everything pointing towards the benefits of having a responsive site, if you are still not completely convinced, then you might be interested to know that even Google recommends that your website be fully responsive. Google is so fond of responsive websites, that they have included responsiveness in their list of preferences when it comes to ranking websites on search engines. Those that are responsive are rewarded for the effort put in, which means you will have more people seeing and visiting your site.
Keep in mind though that responsiveness alone is not going to be enough to get your site ranking. If you are interested in online marketing as an avenue for your business growth, you should look into SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, as a strategy what will work well to make your company more visible online.
At Imaginet, we know how to make websites fully responsive. Our team of customer experience optimisation engineers are more than skilled enough to have a look at your current website, and we can check for responsiveness if you suspect that your site has issues or if you are simply looking for a pair of fresh eyes to give your website professional once over.