It’s no secret that it’s incredibly difficult to succeed as a web designer in today’s business landscape without incorporating responsive design elements into your websites. Let’s take a closer look at what responsive design is and why it’s so important.
What is Responsive Design
Responsive design is a web design approach where a website can respond to a user’s device, screen size and orientation in real time to provide them with a fully functional version of a website regardless of whether they’re using a computer or mobile device to access the website.
Before there was responsive design, savvy companies had web designers create sites for specific mediums. This meant that the developer would create one site for computer users and one or more mobile websites designed for different devices and screen resolutions. As smartphones continued to grow in popularity, more and more sites would be needed to provide the users of different devices with a good experience. It quickly became very impractical and led to the development of responsive design.
Now, with the help of CSS and some flexible grid and layout options, a website can respond to each user’s device, which provides them with a functional and highly usable version of a website, regardless of the device they’re using to access the site.
Why Responsive Design is Important
These days, you can’t overstate the importance of responsive design. Let’s take a closer look at why that is the case.
Mobile is More Important Than Ever
Marketing professionals have been signaling the death of traditional media for quite some time now, and there are plenty of statistics out there to back up that claim. While mediums like television, radio, print and even desktop/laptop computers continue to see less and less engagement from users, mobile usage continues to grow, and it’s a trend that shows no signs of stopping.
Mobile Shopping is on the Rise
Today, more than 20% of all eCommerce sales are completed on a smartphone. This number is forecasted to rise to upwards of 30% by the year 2020. Soon, we’ll be living in a world where many eCommerce purchases are completed with a smartphone or other mobile device.
Plus, responsive mobile design leads to an increase in conversions. These days, nobody wants to make a purchase from a company that can’t even be bothered to make sure their website is usable across different devices.
Google Said So
With more than 2/3rds of the market share when it comes to search, it’s no secret that Google is the true powerhouse of web search. As early as 2012, Google made it clear that they’re prioritizing websites with responsive design while penalizing those who do not offer responsive design.
It’s easy to understand why. Google succeeds by providing an incredible user experience, and anything that runs contrary to that could affect Google’s position as the leader in search. If a website without a responsive design is ranking and receiving substantial traffic from Google, the users being sent to that site are all but guaranteed to have a negative experience because the site is not responsive.
Not only is that bad for you, but it’s also bad for Google as well. If traffic from the largest search engine in the world is a priority for you (and it should be), you’ll want to make sure your website responds accordingly.
The User Experience
As a web designer, the experience of your user should be of paramount importance to you. A good user experience ensures your users will spend more time or your website because they’re having an easy time navigating your site and finding what they need. If you aren’t providing the user with a great experience, you’re going to have a hard time excelling as a web designer.
If you’re designing a site for a local business, mobile responsive design becomes all the more important. A staggering 95% of users use their smartphones to look up information about a local business so they can call, or map directions to their location.
These are people who are in the neighborhood right now, ready to spend money. If you aren’t providing these locals with a great user experience in the form of mobile responsive design, you’re going to be costing your client foot traffic and money that would otherwise be coming through their doors.
Putting the Pieces Together
As you can see, responsive mobile design is more important than ever before. This is one area you cannot afford to be left behind in. By incorporating mobile design, you can ensure that you’re meeting the demands of the mobile internet, staying on the up and up with search engines like Google, providing a great user experience, and putting your client’s site in the best position to generate sales.