You may have heard the buzz about responsive web design following the Google update in 2015 which punished websites that weren’t mobile friendly. Suddenly those with separate mobile sites were left rushing about to make alterations or change to a responsive design. But just what is a responsive design – and why should we all be adapting this change?
What is responsive web design?
A responsive design makes your website viewable on any platform, through any size screen, be it a desktop computer, a tablet or a mobile phone.
Whereas customers were once taken to separate mobile websites which had limited accessibility, responsive design means the same features will be on the site regardless of how you are viewing it. Users won’t be able to tell if your site is responsive on a laptop or desktop, but when viewing on a mobile device they should not have trouble viewing videos or images, or need to zoom too much.
Why should I change to responsive design?
Aside from the Google update, mobile viewing of the internet is increasing year on year. As more and more people begin to view content on-the-go, your site needs to be ready for the increase in audience - and the potential for more updates.
Tablet computers have also opened up the internet to a new elderly audience thanks to their ease of use. They are just one group of customers who view via a different platform and could benefit from your site being responsive. There are doubtless more.
If your site is not responsive, it’s unlikely that users will convert. With mobile devices becoming an increasing method of online shopping, it’s important you make purchasing on mobile devices easy.
Having a responsive design means you have less outlay in web design and development, as you are removing the need for a separate mobile site.
Even better, it will save you many man hours previously spent updating and optimising both sites. Any marketing strategies you put into place via social media (with links back to your site) will also have more value for money as you are increasing the target audience.
Reassesses your thinking
Having one responsive website makes you rethink your entire layout and on-page design. There simply isn’t the room on a mobile-phone screen for excess, which forces you to prioritize your content. It could even improve your SEO as a bonus.
This is because you must pick the most valuable content – whether it’s text, images, videos, the list is endless – on that particular page, and how you can make the most of it on a smaller screen.
Future proof your ecommerce site
Although nobody can be sure what update will hit next, installing a responsive design now means that you are in the best placed position for whatever comes. They work well on a multitude of platforms, and can save you both time and money in the long run.
Are you looking to grow your ecommerce business across channels?
By Mark Withers