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Why websites need to be responsive

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By MV

9 th Jun 2016

Smartphones and tablets have changed the way people experience the Internet and, consequently, website design. Before mobile devices, web designers only had to ensure their websites had the same look and feel across different computers and browsers whereas viewing a website on a mobile device is an entirely different experience. Differences such as clicking versus touch, the size and resolution of the screen and other design features are critical when creating websites responsive enough to work on desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Many people wonder why responsive design is so important for a successful website and, to answer this question, you must understand what responsive web design actually is.

Responsive web design has a specific layout and coding to provide the best possible user experience across all devices. This includes the ease with which a user can read and navigate without needing to excessively resize, pan or scroll.

A responsive design must ensure a site's features (including navigation, text, screen-layout, images, media players, etc.) adjust to suit the device that's being used. When you have a responsive design, it's not necessary to have a version of a site for mobiles and another for desktops and laptops. One of the major advantages of responsive design is that the template size is designed around screen size as opposed to being device-specific. So, regardless of the screen size someone visiting a site is using, a responsive design will display accordingly.

Internet traffic generated by mobile devices is increasing and users are more accustomed to going online with one, meaning a responsive design is exceptionally important. While actual web content remains critical, a positive online experience enables users to view content using the platform they choose. 

Google’s Think Insights tell us that, if a user visits a mobile site and finds it frustrating as they’re unable to find what they're searching for, the chances are they'll quit the site and go. If a user has a positive experience with a mobile site, they're far more inclined to stay, engage and hopefully bring you some business.

If your site has an element of blogging and social media, you’re probably enjoying an increase in mobile traffic. Studies show that over 50% of social media engagement takes place on mobile devices. If your site isn't responsive, you'll encounter significant bounce rates, poor conversions and frustrated users.

When crawling sites to index them in the search rankings, Google prioritises responsive web designs when indexing and having just one version of a site simplifies the crawling process for a Google robot. 

Responsive websites should work irrespective of the device or operating system being used. A responsive web design must deliver the optimal experience that's consistent across all devices, whether someone’s using a smartphone, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows operating system. This means that website designers don't need to create versions of their site for every kind of device platform that users might own.

It's plain to see that responsive web design is the right path to choose to meet the changing needs of users and should be the first choice when creating a website for your business. Rather than separating website content into device-specific sections, it's wiser to design websites responsive to all user devices.
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