responsive-web-design

Responsive Web Design: What It Is and Why It Matters

With the pervasive use of the Internet, the shift from personal computers to mobile gadgets has been a fairly inevitable process over the past decade. Now with the new scenery, designers are confronted with a new set of web design restrictions. As a buzzword today, “Responsive Web Design” is an underlying challenge for web designers and front-end developers. This website development method allows visitors to have the best user experience for reading, navigating, scrolling, resizing, panning, etc. on mobile devices.

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Responsive web design (RWD) is the approach to web development that makes webpages render properly on a wide range of end-user devices, regardless of their size and orientation, whether a desktop monitor, laptop, smartphone, phablet, or tablet. A responsive website can legibly adjust itself to any mobile device’s screen providing a seamless user experience.

How Did Responsive Web Design Originate?

The term was first coined by the renowned web designer and developer, Ethan Marcotte, in a forward-looking blog post. He declared that instead of customizing inconsistent designs to each of the numerous web devices launched to the market every day, we must consider them as facets of the same experience. In order to provide an optimal viewing experience, we should embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them more adaptive to a wide variety of media rendering them. He referred to all this process as “Responsive Web Design”.  

However, the practice itself predates Marcotte’s initial use of the term. For instance, Cameron Adams, former Google product designer and co-founder of Canva, referred to this technique in the article “Resolution Dependent Layout” in 2004. If you surf the web, you’ll probably encounter some earlier remarks on the concept of adaptive web design.

What Is the Purpose of Responsive Web Design?

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The purpose of responsive website design is to provide your website visitors with a pleasing and memorable experience encouraging them to return to your website over and over again. As the user switches from their desktop browser to iPad on such a website, the website automatically responds to accommodate the new resolution, image size, and scripting features. Responsive website design is not merely restricted to the way your website appears; it may also consider the settings on the user’s device to provide the best possible response. For instance, if they have a VPN for iOS on their iPad, the website must not block the user’s access to the web page. In a nutshell, your responsive website should use all the necessary technologies to automatically respond to the user’s preferences.

Why Is Responsive Web Design Important?

In the ever-expanding online world, it’s now evident that the number of mobile users surpasses that of desktop, and this will continue to grow as global inexpensive smartphones gain more accessibility and popularity worldwide. Since 2015, mobile traffic has been in the lead with the number of smartphone users internationally exceeding 2 billion in 2016. Currently, over 79 percent of all internet searches originate from mobile gadgets.

Additionally, research by Statistica Business Data Platform in 2019 revealed that only smartphones generated nearly 49% of global website traffic. Following the rise in mobile usage, Google released a new search engine algorithm in early 2015 to include a website’s mobile-friendliness as one of its principal ranking priorities. This mobile-friendly ranking algorithm was crafted to elevate those mobile-friendly webpages in the search results leading to more online visibility and credibility. In another move in 2016, Google warned website owners that they would continue to lose some ground in their search rankings if they don’t manage to provide a mobile-friendly experience for people clicking on their websites.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Responsive website design consists of a wide variety of techniques, including fluid, proportion-based grids, scalable images, and above all, smart use of CSS media queries to adapt the website layout to the viewing environment. This way, the visitor no longer needs to take the burden of zooming on your web pages to read illegible text or scrolling horizontally to notice what’s left outside the screen. There’s also adequate space for tap targets.

What Are the Benefits of Responsive Web Design?

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Apart from the many benefits that responsive website design brings to your business through higher online visibility, it relieves web designers, UI/UX designers, and web developers from the daunting task of creating discrete websites for every single device and medium in existence. Responsive web design also helps digital marketers, advertisers, and sales team reach their business goals more effectively within a shorter time frame. If you’re still hesitant about creating your responsive website, here are six key benefits that may influence your decision:

1. More Website Traffic

Your target audience usually visits your website through a variety of devices in different shapes and sizes. A responsive website ensures that users don’t encounter twisted images or experience a suboptimal layout on any gadget they use. Consequently, you will automatically perceive a tangible increase in the number of website visitors as well as the time they spend on your website.

2. Simpler Analytics Reporting

To make informed improvements to your website, you need to know where traffic is generating from and how users interact with your website. If you have multiple website versions, you need to keep an eye on various analytics to track users’ journeys through multiple conversion paths, funnels, and redirects. A single responsive website facilitates website monitoring and reporting just from one source of information.

3. Easier and Cost-Effective Maintenance

Maintaining multiple versions of a website is definitely much harder and more costly in the long run than maintaining one single responsive website. Of course, you need to allocate some more budget to designing a responsive website at first, however, the reduced cost of maintaining discrete sites will surely compensate for it in the future. Besides, with eliminating the need to make changes across different media, your development team will spend less time on maintenance and gain more time to focus on more critical tasks such as product or content development.

4. Higher Loading Speed & Lower Bounce Rates

Statistics reveal that users tend to leave websites that take longer than three seconds to end loading content. Your general audience hardly ever tolerates that long wait and prefers to back up and go to your competitors. Using modern performance techniques in responsive web design such as caching and responsive image display will greatly increase your website loading speed. Besides, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it is much harder to keep visitors engaged, and consequently, they are more likely to “bounce”, that is to leave the site as soon as they enter it.

5. Better Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Regarding SEO, responsive website design is as essential as quality content. When you get stronger backlinks and lower bounce rates, you can automatically achieve higher search rankings. Also, when you offer two versions of your website, you have to regularly create duplicate content, which can negatively impact your search ranking.

6. More Sharing on Social Media

If you’re seeking an increase in your website content’s number of social media shares, creating a responsive website is the first step ahead. A website that is designed with some responsive social media buttons, makes it much easier for visitors to share the embedded links even on smaller screen sizes. More shares of your website content on social media increase exposure to new audiences and ultimately results in more traffic and higher conversion rates.

Grow Your Business with a Responsive Website

The emergence of various mobile gadgets and web rendering media has shown us the vision for our future websites: a world in which users can have great, pleasing experiences no matter what devices or what screen sizes they have those experiences on. This great experience is definitely a key to your success and brings your business a multitude of long-term benefits. So, if you intend to provide your business with a new website or refine an existing one, set responsive web design as a main priority from the outset.

 

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48 thoughts on “Responsive Web Design: What It Is and Why It Matters”

  1. It’s great that you talked about web design and its visibility importance. Recently, my sister mentioned she wants to start an online business. My sister’s working on her project’s business plan, and I think this article could interest her. Thanks for the information on responsive web design and how it helps increase a website’s traffic.

    Reply
  2. It’s great that you talked about web design and its visibility importance. Recently, my sister mentioned she wants to start an online business. My sister’s working on her project’s business plan, and I think this article could interest her. Thanks for the information on responsive web design and how it helps increase a website’s traffic.

    Reply
    • Quoted from TekTarget’s website : Responsive design is an approach to web page creation that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading style sheet media queries.

      Reply

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