Responsive Web Design isn’t necessarily a new approach to web design, but it is one that is becoming more and more important.
Wikipedia has a fairly expansive definition of what Responsive Web Design actually entails. In short, however, it’s important to know it is a method for designing your website for an optimal viewing experience, whether it’s on mobile devices like phones or tablets, or even desktop computers.
What Does This Mean?
First, while I’m not a “dev-guy” at Ecreativeworks (I won’t be telling you the intricacies of the code needed to create a responsive website), I am a Search Engine Optimization Specialist who can tell you that a responsive design is the right choice for most companies for a variety of reasons:
- Responsive Web Design means that making changes to your site involves making changes to only one site version, on one CMS, cutting down on the opportunity for confusion or mistakes if you have a large screen (laptop, PC) version of the site and a mobile – m.yoursite.com (smartphone, tablet, Nook or Amazon Kindle) version of the site. It also removes potential opportunity for search engine ranking confusion between your PC based and mobile site(s) if developed separately.
- Be Ready – According to Google’s update of “The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executive’s Guide to Winning with Mobile” 84% of multi-screen user experiences not only involve smartphones, but begin with smartphones. Meaning that it is highly likely the first interaction with a campaign or informational inquiry about your company will begin on your potential customer’s smartphone.
- Develop the focus of your mobile site to reflect the most important features of your product/services that visitors interact with, especially if they are different than your PC-centric site (ex: a customer’s use of a ‘product finder’ or ‘measurement calculator’).
Secondly, it means this is not strictly a ‘resizing’ or ‘scaling’ of your current website for a smaller smartphone or tablet screen. This is a new ‘proportioning’ of the site design based on different CSS3 style parameters that are applied once the devise is recognized via ‘media queries’ performed immediately when the site is accessed by a browser on a particular devise such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Third, do I need a website with a Responsive Web Design or an App? Both, ideally, because each is appreciated by a different type of customer. Think of it this way; I need an application for my loyal customers to utilize in their interactions with my company – creating RFQ’s, researching available specs, and placing orders (just to name a few). I need an RWD (Responsive Web Design) website to accommodate everyone else.
Should I Implement a Responsive Web Design?
Do I need to do it? Simply, yes. Here are some facts.
- 17.4% of web traffic is mobile devices, a 6% increase over 2012 – Mashable 2013
- 2.1 billion active broad-band mobile subscriptions worldwide for 2013 (mobithinking.com), up 35% over 2012.
- Smartphone adoption in the U.S. has grown from 36% to 61% over the past two years – Google’s “The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executives Guide to Winning with Mobile” (Second Edition – http://www.themobileplaybook.com/en-us/).
- Results of Local Searches: One out of five searches have ‘local intent’ Google’s “The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executives Guide to Winning with Mobile” (Second Edition – http://www.themobileplaybook.com/en-us/).
- 94% of smartphone users search for location info*
- 51% visited a store*
- 48% called a store*
- 29% made a purchase in-store and did so quickly
- 80% of mobile search triggered store visits happen within 5 hours of initial search**
- 85% of mobile search triggered calls to stores happen within 5 hours of initial search**
* Google and Ipsos. “Our Mobile Planet: Understanding the Mobile Consumer.” May 2012 (www.ourmobileplanet.com)
**Google and Nielsen. “Mobile Search Moments: Understanding How Mobile Drives Conversions.” March 2013 (www.google.com/think/research-studies/creating-moments-that-matter.html)
Where Do I Start?
Following are some initial pre-production suggestions to get started on your Responsive Web Design project for your website:
- Simplify Navigation – Cut down on navigation choices presented to your potential customers and clients, perhaps limit them to your core competencies potential customers most often ask about.
- Reduce Image Resolution – Instruct design and developers to downsize image resolution for quick loading site images using RWD CSS3 parameters in the design/production phase.
- Reduce Scrolling – Eliminate or greatly reduce the need for the visitor to scroll vertically or pan horizontally while using your site. ‘Bounce Rate’ greatly increases when visitors hit a site that is simply a scaled down version of their PC site. Sometimes this means more precise navigation to streamline viewer choices.
- Reduce User Input – Cut back on the amount of typing a visitor needs to do to reach information and while making requests. Use concise, short call-to-action information gathering.
- Enlarge On-screen ‘Touch Targets’ – Give your visitors a larger area to engage ‘touch screen targets’ keeping in mind the lessor sensitivity of some small touch screens.
Everyone appreciates a certain amount of online specificity and concise navigation, in the mobile environment especially. With the ever-expanding ‘Always-on’ reality of today’s online experience it is of ultimate importance to deliver excellent online experience across all platforms of connectivity. Having an effective online PC-centric presence undermined by a ‘lesser-than’ mobile experience can hinder your overall competitive advantage online. The online world dictates it’s time to pay attention to all platforms available to the ‘Always-on’ user.
The information contained in this article is intended to give you a quick primer on the thought process behind choosing and starting your implementation of a Responsive Web Design mobile-centric presence on the web.
There are many resources available online to investigate the ins-and-outs of Responsive Design, we’ve given you some above. A time-saver for the busy CEO or Business Marketing leader would be to contact www.Ecreativeworks.com and arrange for a Q&A with our knowledgeable sales staff to discover what course of action might be best for your company.