From online shopping to general browsing, the online user experience has undergone dramatic changes since Bing Crosby first sang about busy sidewalks and people dressed in holiday style. The days of bulky desktops and dial-up are long over – the mobile revolution is underway and thriving.
When your business depends on your online presence, this trend is no joke. These days, more than half of website traffic in the world comes from mobile devices – in fact, the percentage of mobile traffic increased from 31.2 to 52.6 percent from the start of 2015 to the end of 2019 alone.
Fortunately, there’s a way to improve your website for this growing group of users: responsive web design. As mobile usage continues to gain popularity, embracing responsive web design will not only make your more appealing to customers, but it’s good for business as well.
What is Responsive Web Design?
In a time when people use devices of all sizes to access your site, responsive web design allows you to tailor your site to your users’ devices. A responsive site is one site, not a separate mobile and desktop version, meaning you make changes one time and in one place, and your site is automatically updated for any device.
It’s also important to note that responsive design is not the same as mobile-friendly design. While responsive design is indeed friendly to mobile users, it takes a different approach to doing so. A mobile-friendly site design is where the desktop and mobile versions are the exact same – they just happen to focus on working on mobile devices. A responsive web design allows your site to proactively adjust or "respond" to the device that is accessing it. This practice allows your site to shift so that users can access the same information as everyone else, but in a way that’s more user-friendly to them.
In short, responsive web design allows you to translate the look and layout of your site to your user’s device. There are a variety of design elements included in responsive web design. Here’s an example of responsive web design in action and how those elements impact the mobile version of your site.
The first example showcases the site on desktop, whereas the second is how it responds to a mobile device. As you can see, the mobile design changes to accommodate the shape and size of the mobile device. For instance, the text and image layout formats are better for a longer screen while the main navigation is combined into a tappable menu icon to prevent the need for horizontal scrolling.
How Does Responsive Web Design Help My Business?
Simply put, more and more people use mobile devices for their online activity every day. Consumers will continue to dictate how they interact with your company – and as we mentioned earlier, more than half of traffic comes from a mobile device. Responsive web design allows you to provide the best user experience that contributes to the achievement of your business goals. Here are some direct benefits that you can enjoy with responsive design.
Responsive Web Design Improved Site Usability
One of the main objectives of responsive design is to give your users a better experience for your visitors. However, this goal isn’t all about doing your users a solid – a better user experience is good for business as well. While patience is a virtue, the average visitor does not share that quality. Here are a few eye-opening statistics from Smallbizgenius to help drive that point home:
- 88 percent of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience.
- 44 percent of shoppers will tell their friends about a bad online experience.
- If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50 percent of users will use it less even if they like the business.
- 52 percent of users said they’re less likely to engage with a company that doesn’t use responsive mobile design.
- 67 percent of mobile users say they’d rather reward a mobile-friendly site by buying a product or service there than from one of its competitors.
Simply put, the better your user’s mobile experience is, the more likely it is that they'll stick around on your site and reward you with their business.
Responsive Web Design Leads to Better Bounce Rates
Speaking of people sticking around, a better mobile experience is much more likely to keep users on your site. There are several reasons why users bounce from a site that isn’t optimized for mobile devices, such as:
- Horizontal scrolling
- Poor mobile navigation bars
- Massive images that take up the entire screen
Through responsive design, you can clean up many of these issues to provide a better user experience from the moment a visitor arrives. This will help improve the percentage of visitors who depart your site after a single page. In turn, more users will be more inclined to click through and read multiple pages to see your goods and services.
Responsive Web Design is Critical for SEO
The mobile-friendliness of your site does more than make your site look better on smaller devices – it has a direct impact on your how well your site ranks in Google searches. Google officially announced back in 2015 that it would expand its “use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” The company then doubled down in 2018 by switching to mobile-first indexing, which means that they now use the mobile version of your pages for indexing and ranking purposes.
What does Google’s increased focus on mobile-friendliness mean for sites that aren’t responsive? In short, bad news. Studies showed that non-responsive sites took a direct hit to their traffic following the 2015 update, with some sites experiencing decreases of 50 percent or more for not being mobile friendly. As such, a responsive site can help appease Google and prevent avoidable traffic losses.
Responsive Web Design Allows for Faster Pages
Did you know that responsive web design not only makes your site mobile-friendly, it also allows it to load more quickly on mobile devices? “Says who,” you ask? As it turns out, Google does. According to the great search overlords themselves, responsive design “requires no redirection for users to have a device-optimized view, which reduces load time.” This reduction in load time is beneficial for two big reasons:
- The faster a page loads, the more likely a user will interact with it.
- Page speed is yet another ranking factor for Google.
Who needs to pick between user experience and search rankings when you can have both?
Prepare Your Site for Mobile Users
No matter your business, mobile users are a crucial part of your online success. Customers these days have smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices and will use them to check out your site online whether you run an ecommerce operation or an industrial business-to-business company. Consumers demand instant access to the products and services that interest them, and the businesses that provide a more personalized, user-focused experience will be rewarded with engagement and investment of consumer dollars.
Are you ready to take your website to the next level for mobile users? Contact Aztek Web today and talk to a Cleveland web design agency for your business.