We’re asked quite often about mobile strategy, compatibility issues, its affect on SEO and more. We’ve been producing Responsive websites since 2013 but thought this article, written exclusively for JB Systems by Ivan Serrano, would bolster our approach and provide some clarity. We hope you enjoy – and thanks to Ivan for providing some third party, unbiased, insight:
Responsive Design – A Summary
The rise of smartphones and tablets has had a huge impact on the design and user experience of a site. Before mobile devices, brands only needed ensure that their site would work across different browsers. Smartphones and tablets, however, offer a completely different experience from a standard desktop. Not only is the screen smaller the mobile devices themselves generally are less powerful, have different resolutions, rely on touch control and generally do not support Flash. More importantly 75 percent of consumers expect brands to have mobile-friendly sites and have no problem navigating away if they cannot find what they are looking for quickly. With mobile Internet usage growing 73 percent from the previous year, it’s no exaggeration to say that mobile is the most important avenue for marketers. While there are several options to making your site mobile-friendly, the preferred method is to implement a responsive design.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Simply put, responsive web design (RWD) means all content, images and structure of a site will adjust to fit every screen size. Unlike a mobile specific site, an RWD site is built on one domain and a single HTML codebase which is fluidly resized by CSS to adjust to any screen size. Since it is all built on one domain you don’t need to maintain different versions of the site, saving you time and, in the long run, money. There are plenty of other reasons you should implement RWD for your brand’s site sooner rather than later.
Google Recommends It
Google accounts for 67 percent of desktop search engine market shares and 83 percent mobile shares, making it the most popular search engine in the world. So it’s a good idea to listen when they recommend RWD. While Google has stated that dynamic serving and mobile-specific sites are acceptable when done properly, responsive still comes in first. After all, its web-crawling bots can index a single set of HTML code much more efficiently than the codes of multiple versions of the same site. Being mobile-friendly will give you a boost in SEO as Google has officially announced they are using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile searches.
Better User Experience
Without an RWD, visitors often have to mess around with zooming in, horizontal scrolling or shrinking text and images on screen to simply read a post. With RWD, content is automatically adjusted to perfectly fit the screen of the device making for a hassle-free experience. The less tweaking visitors need to do to navigate a site, the more likely they will be to revisit. In fact, visitors that have a positive experience with a mobile site are 67 percent more likely to make a purchase. A negative experience can lead to a loss of brand loyalty as 50 percent of consumers reported they would use a site less often even if they like the brand. Ultimately, this means fewer visits and sales.
RWD works across all devices and operating systems and ensures that users get the best and consistent experience whether they’re on iOS, Android, Windows or even on a SmartTV. This allows you to reach the widest possible audience on every possible platform.
Increase Conversion Rates
The less work steps a user needs to take to make a purchase, the better your chances of converting them into customers. Mobile commerce is quickly growing and by 2018 it is estimated mobile revenue will reach $626 billion. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you’re potentially losing out on a lot of business. RWD gives you full control of all the conversion elements displayed on smartphones and tablets for a smooth experience. Since you can control these elements, you can also use RWD in conjunction with software like Clicktale to create high end heat mapping and A/B tests. This information can show you exactly how visitors are interacting with your site and if your tactics are effective or not. You can make strategic changes armed with this information to improve your conversion rates.
Responsive design might not be the answer for everyone, but for most brands it will be the best way to optimize for mobile. There are still many sites that are not mobile-friendly so making the switch now can potentially give you a leg up over your competitors.
— Ivan Surrano
Ivan Serrano is an enthusiastic writer who enjoys learning whatever he can about international communications, and hopes to manage his own global business someday. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge of technology and how it can improve business communications on an international level.