Respond, don’t react: How Responsive Web Design can help your business
For years, businesses have taken it for granted that customers were viewing websites on 15-to-19-inch computer screens. But times are changing and consumers are now using multiple devices to view websites and even to make purchases.
These devices come in all shapes and sizes, which means your website appears differently on each of them, depending on the size of the iPhone, Android phone, or tablet in question. Why does this matter? Well, people carry these devices everywhere. They therefore can, and will, access your website from everywhere. Facebook, the most popular site in the world, just announced that their visitors spend more time on Facebook mobile than on their regular website! This means that your regular old website is appearing on smartphones and tablets just as if it was a desktop screen. Except, in miniature. If that doesn’t send you screaming to your web guy, nothing will.
The importance of designing websites for different size devices is shaking the industry to its core again. “Does that mean I have to go out and redesign my whole website again? How will I test all the different sizes?” Maybe if you close your eyes, it will all go away. Oh wait! Do you want the truth? Yes, you may need to redesign your whole website. But never fear: responsive design is here! The web hasn’t left you out in the cold. We can rebuild it. We have the technology.
Responsive design solves the problem of having to design and develop versions of your website for every one of the multitude of devices and screen sizes, and allows it to load in its optimal state automatically. No more testing for every iPad, tablet, smartphone, video game console, TV, netbook, Kindle, and whatever they come up with next. Building your website with responsive design enables your website to adapt to any screen size automatically. It’s a beautiful thing.
Now you see, that’s not so bad! “Responsive Design” - it even sounds calming and relaxing. Oh, and did I mention that not having a mobile-optimized site can hurt your rankings in Google search results? Their algorithms will give responsive and optimized mobile websites better position in mobile search results.
It’s true. The most popular websites in the world have gone mobile and everyone else is going with them. Just check out these statistics:
- In 2011, Google announced that 40% of all local searches were made from mobile phones
- In Feburary, Google released new recommendations related to making websites mobile-friendly
- Nielsen recently announced that 50.4% of U.S. mobile subscribers use smartphones
- Oh yeah, and Google just announced that 850,000 (you read that right!) new Android smartphones are activated every day
So don’t worry - just stick it out with your one screen, one size, take it or leave it website. Google won’t care, or will they? Apparently, they do. Google has even gone on record pushing the importance of mobile optimization, even going so far as to recommend the responsive design approach.
Well at least this should encourage you: the average iPhone user seems to spend less and less time using their smartphone to make voice calls. If you're not thinking about mobile, let’s hope the majority of time is spent playing Angry Birds! But, if you care about the experience that smartphone users have when searching for your products and services - and you should - responsive design can save the day.
Stay tuned for more information about the technology behind responsive design!
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