responsive web designIt isn’t enough to build a website and assume ‘they will come’. This should be old news by now, however, with smart phones, IPads and Tablets taking up a huge share of the internet user market, it is now more important than ever to have a website that serves up content based on what device the visitor is using.

Why Does the Device Matter?

It matters because users on a computer versus a phone are completely different in terms of their needs. Typically, someone on their phone is looking for specific information – a place to eat, a phone number, directions, hotel, etc. They want information and they want it fast. If they are making a purchase, they want it to be quick and easy; no multiple clicks and confusing instructions.

With one quarter of global web searches conducted on a mobile device, you have to get on board with the idea that a single website display will be okay with your visitors. It won’t be and they will leave your site.

Size Matters

In terms of viewing a website on a small device, such as phone or tablet, size absolutely matters. Have you ended up on a site that isn’t serving up content based on the size of your screen? The text is tiny, it’s impossible to get around without a lot of left to right scrolling and overall, it’s a difficult and time consuming experience.

Is this an experience that you would recommend? Would you purchase something under those conditions? Then why do you expect your visitors to be happy with that experience?

So, what is responsive web design?

A responsive website design modifies the site based on the size of the screen being used for viewing. It keeps scrolling to a minimum, uses images that resize to fit the screen automatically and works to provide a clean yet branded experience for the user. To check to see if your website is responsive, open your website on a browser. Now click to make the window smaller, continuing to decrease the width of the horizontal viewing area. If you see a fluid movement of images, text and whatnot, this is a responsive design and this is extremely important!!!

Why is responsiveness so important?

As discussed earlier in this post, visitors who have a hard time with your non-responsive website will simply leave and find someone who gets it (responsive rox!). On top of that, Google takes into account the ‘user experience’ and will penalize your site if it lacks mobile capabilities.

To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users. – Yoshikiyo Kato, Software Engineer, on behalf of Google Mobile Search team

Add to that the fact that delivering a solid user experience should be the foundation of your website, and really, responsive design is required. Until next time: a responsive we will go, responsive we will go, high how the merry oh….