What is Responsive Web Design?

Every business owner wants an accessible website. After all, your website is often the first port of call for your customers, users and consumers. Web design affects everything, from the way users interact with your products, to whether they reach out to you or go elsewhere. 

The right website, as well as being accessible, needs to provide a quality user experience and the best content, too. There’s no denying that these factors will help you rank highly and get the results you want, but a key factor that determines this? Your responsive web design

Feeling a bit lost? No matter, as this guide will take you through the ins and outs of it, so that you come away feeling like a responsive web design pro.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Essentially, responsive web design (RWD) refers to how well your website is optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop usage collectively. Nowadays, your website needs to be easy to navigate right across the board. When done well, responsive web design ensures that your customers are getting the best user experience possible, irrespective of how they are interacting with your website.

What are the benefits of Responsive Web Design?

  • Improved User Experience
  • Customer loyalty
  • Better Search Engine rankings
  • Lower bounce rate

Why is Responsive Web Design Important?

Responsive Web Design is vital to get right because of the impact it has on the success and popularity of your website, which further down the line, affects your web ranking and overall Return on Investment (ROI). In simple terms, a website that isn’t optimised for mobile isn’t going to do well.

 User experience is everything. Think about it – when you use a website on your mobile, if it is unresponsive, clunky and slow, are you likely to stay on it for long? This is the same for your customers. If they’re on a tablet or mobile and find your web design frustratingly unclear, they’ll likely look elsewhere, meaning you miss out on business.

How is Responsive Web Design related to User Experience?

The reason responsive web design exists is to make sure your users are navigating your site with ease, no matter how they find you. Therefore, your web design considers how users interact with your website and allows for this. Search engines love a responsive website, and the better a website is tailored for user experience, the more likely it is to be noticed by Google and the like. Simple stuff, right?

Consider this…

Mobile usage officially took over desktop usage way back in 2014, and the importance of mobile usage for user experience and website performance has only risen since then. 

It was reported in 2016 that 53 % of mobile website visitors will leave your website if a webpage doesn’t load within three seconds. Three seconds!

What does this mean? It means that your site speed should be top-notch, and one factor that affects this is your responsive web design. 

Some questions to ask yourself at this stage are…

  • Does your website interface adapt depending on the device the user is using?
  • It is easy to navigate on a tablet?
  • Do the web pages load quickly on mobile?
  • How easy is it for a customer to purchase a product on a mobile device?

Top Tip: Don’t forget local search. Depending on the services you’re providing and how locally you work, make sure your web pages are set up for mobile search in your immediate area. Localised website pages give your site a ‘local feel’. When it comes to mobile searches, you may have a customer search ‘XXX near me.’ Due to the immediate nature of these search queries, they will likely be conducted via a mobile or tablet device, so try to optimise your mobile site to consider your local market where possible.  

Why is Responsive Web Design Good?

  • It’s cost-effective. With one overarching design that covers your mobile, tablet and desktop website, you save money in the long run as you will be working with a streamlined design.
  • It gives you more authority. You are already ranking higher than your competitors as soon as you optimise for mobile, and with smart, slick design and optimised content, you can see more customer engagement, resulting in higher ranking and a likely boost in ROI.
  • It’s what everyone else is doing. You will be seen as a business that is keeping up with the rest of the world by going mobile. 57 % of users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, so what are you waiting for?
  • It allows less room for errors. A responsive website across all devices reduces the chance of a clumsy, slow-loading interface that leaves users unsure of how to purchase a product or contact you directly.

Responsive Web Design for mobile

Responsive web design for mobile should be optimised with the user in mind. You’ll need to think about factors such as making text accessible and readable on the small screen, and making sure the content adapts to fit the page. Automatic adjustment will mean users aren’t faffing around zooming in or trying to find the right product page.

Top Tip: Start with your mobile web design, and scale-up, as it is far easier to transition with mobile-first web design.

Don’t forget your visuals!

Choose responsive images and videos so they adjust to the small screen so your users can interact with your website exactly as you intended them to.  

Consider your content layout when optimising for mobile, too…

  • Will you have multiple columns?
  • Will you opt for the column drop pattern?
  • What about secondary content?
  • Will you use drop-down boxes?

Visual hierarchies help break up the content into readable bite-sized chunks, too. This will all help with user experience, and keep them coming back. Tidy.

Responsive Web Design for desktop

Although desktop has certainly taken a backseat when it comes to e-commerce and web traffic, it shouldn’t be forgotten. Your website should pull out all the stops for desktop, as a wider screen enables more scope. A responsive website for your desktop gives users increased opportunity to react with content, follow links, and interact with products and services.

Don’t forget….

  • Effective visuals, including infographics, video and responsive images
  • A clear & concise layout
  • Easily navigable product pages
  • Easy-to-find ‘Contact Us’ page
  • Quick load times
  • User-friendly typography

Through impactful, insightful responsive web design, you can optimise your website for every device out there. Along with stand-out visuals, a clean interface and first-class user experience, responsive web design boosts your website and therefore your online visibility, further up the ladder. Your website needn’t be at the bottom of the pile. Get the traction you deserve and put some of these techniques into practice today.

Still stuck? The team at Code23 have got your back. Contact us today and we’ll get your website where it needs to be.

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