What is a responsive website? How do I know if I need one? How much will it cost? Lately, these are questions we get asked a lot, along with variants like: “how can I make one site that will fit all screen sizes?” Or, “can you make a mobile and tablet website for my current site which only needs to be updated in one place?”
In this blog series, we’ll take a look at these questions to dispel some common misconceptions surrounding Responsive Website Design (RWD), so you can move toward an informed decision about designing (or redesigning) your website. In the first post, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of distinguishing a responsive website from a regular desktop-centric site and look at the business benefits of setting up a responsive website. Next, we’ll take a look at the processes and costs involved in setting up a responsive website for your business. Then we’ll explore how responsive sites are designed in order to understand the opportunities and restrictions.
So, without further adieu…
“What is a responsive website and why would I need one?”
A responsive website is one that has been designed to adapt to multiple screen sizes including desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile screens. Content appears differently on each device, with text, navigation tools and images rearranging to deliver an aesthetically pleasing and usable end product for each device.
The advantage of having a responsive site is that businesses can deliver relevant information to targeted users. For example, when a mobile user searches for a restaurant, a map will probably be the most important piece of information, but when a desktop user searches a restaurant, they are likely to be looking for more extensive information. On a responsive website, it is easy to cater for different clientele through the design of one centralised site.
For the user, usability and user experience are just as important as the delivery of relevant information. If the right content is present, but unreadable, it is rendered useless. A responsive website will automatically resize and layout content for easy navigation with minimal scrolling, panning and resizing across devices. A user friendly and aesthetically pleasing site is beneficial when attracting readers and consumers, especially if they are first time visitors, so make sure your information and images are up-to-date, relevant and looking good.
Ultimately, an effective website is one which delivers the customer relevant information in an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use format.
If you feel that your business website does not tick these boxes, then creating a RWD site is the best way to ensure you really are providing the best of the best user experiences for your customers. To boot, you don’t need to build and maintain a separate mobile website for your business, nor do you need to build and maintain a suite of mobile apps to cater for all the various devices on the market. Designing a responsive website is more costly than designing a regular website, but creating an effective business website is likely to be worth more than its dollar value in the long run. It is an investment worth considering for optimum conversion rates.
Stay tuned for the next installment of this responsive web design series: “How Much Does RWD Cost and Why?”