What is Responsive Website Design and Why is it Important?

Amanda Bradley
What is Responsive Website Design and Why is it Important?
If you’ve hired a website designing company, are designing your own site, or have even thought about the concept, chances are you’ve come across the concept of responsive website design. Responsive design is basically a type of site design that will provide the most optimal viewing experience for your customers regardless of which device or screen type they’re viewing it on.

With a new smartphone coming out seemingly every other day and consumers switching multiple times from one device to the next (mid-purchase nonetheless), business owners are scrambling to keep up with the demand. After all, a recent study showed that consumers will likely bounce straight off a website that’s not performing well almost half the time. To be sure, responsiveness is definitely an essential feature to ask for from a professional website designer. But what’s it all about? Here’s a quick overview of responsive website designing, how it works, why you need it, and why the best website designs will never be without it.

What is Responsive Website Design?

In a word, it's all about flexibility. Responsive designs will actually change the layout of a page based on the screen or device it is being viewed from. Think of it like this. A picture will look different when viewing it in portrait mode than it will in landscape mode. Each screen, device, and platform you load a webpage onto will render a different angle of that same simple website design. 

The problem with this is that content gets lost, images get cut off, elements get blurred, and functions stop functioning. At best, your site will be too small to read or missing certain impressive elements that you spent hours designing. At worst, your site is a total mess, totally nonfunctioning, and prime bounce rate material. Responsive website designs ensure this doesn’t happen by including design elements that are good to go, regardless of your view. 

Responsive website designs include readable text (no squinting required), good margins for buttons, headers, and other on-screen features, and scrolling functionality. In short, your website will look and act its best, no matter what. 

Why Does Responsive Design Matter?

Fascinating, to be sure. But what does this have to do with your business, and why should you be spending time on this single feature when there are so many other details that need to be tended to already? Here's why the best website design services are switching to responsive designs in 2020:

  • Mobile is on the Rise

Mobile usage is just gaining in popularity. Stop for just a minute and think when was the last time you looked at your cell phone. Probably within the last 20 minutes. You're probably reading this article from your phone right now! From online shopping to one-touch payment solutions, mobile usage is rapidly increasing as society gravitates more towards this faster, easier, and more convenient option for daily tasks. To illustrate this point further, here are a few stats that you might find interesting as a website owner:

  • Conversion rates drop by 20% every second that your website load is delayed.
  • Consumers interact with a brand more than twice as often via mobile devices.
  • Mobile device searches make up more than 20% of Google consumer searches today.
  • 57% of users will interact with a website on both mobile and desktop devices.

Bottom line, mobile's here to stay, and guess what, so is desktop. So, the need for creating an attractive and pleasant user experience regardless of platform is of the utmost importance for any business owner looking for success.

Peace of Mind

Let's play a little game. I'll say a few terms, and you quickly respond with the first thing that comes to your mind. Scripting abilities. Fluid layouts. Media queries. Filament Group. Having fun yet? Didn't think so. These are some of the terms used by developers to help make that gorgeous website design look just as stunning whether you're accessing it from your Samsung Galaxy S20 on the train, your PC at work, or your iPad from the couch. Because when it comes to varying displays, screens, and devices, there are a million different elements silently at play, creating the image you see. 

Responsive designs utilize scripts that can reformat web pages and mark-up effortlessly (or automatically). They tell certain elements to show or hide content based on the various parameters that are present at the time. They take into consideration the variance between touch screen versus cursor interaction. Responsive website design services allow you to tap on a button when you’re looking at it on your cell phone and click on that same button when you’re using a mouse. 

Sounds like a lot of work? It is. So, unless you want to create a custom website design for each screen size, resolution, operating system, browser, platform, and orientation (did we mention individual users’ device settings?!), you best be embracing the responsive website design model fast.

Not to worry if your head is spinning. The best website design companies today understand the need and are starting to include mobile-friendly and responsive structures within their standard website design cost. As a business owner, you just have to be aware of this all-important feature so that you know to ask for it if it’s not clearly stated in the terms.

The Almighty Google Loves Responsive

Need more convincing? Try this one on for size. Ever hear of a little thing called SEO? Search engine optimization. It's a term that website owners spend countless hours, days, and years trying to learn, master, and outsmart. Aiming for that coveted first-page ranking, businesses will spend a boatload of money to outrank the competition. Well, in 2015, Google made a change that would forever affect the search rankings for business websites (spoiler: it has to do with responsive website designing). 

From April of that year, Google began to incorporate mobile-friendliness into its ranking algorithm. Those pernicious spiders scan each of your pages to determine things like load times, image placement, resolution, and other mobile responsive design elements and practices to determine the value of your website. Subpar or cheap website designs that aren't optimized for mobile users will end up at the bottom of the barrel (and by barrel we mean search engine results page—though you may as well be at the bottom of a barrel at that point because your business will not be seeing the light of day anytime soon!).

Seems pretty grim? Not really, since it’s such an easy problem to fix. Google is looking for cool website designs that look just as cool on your mobile device as they do on your desktop computer, which is why all modern website designs today include mobile-friendly coding.

Conclusion

The consensus is out: top website designs will always be responsive. Whether you’re trying to rank higher in the SERPs or you want to ensure that the stunning portfolio website design you’ve paid for looks just as good from every angle, responsive website designing is the wave of the future. And considering the fact that new technologies, devices, and operating systems are being launched constantly, responsive is possibly the only way to stay relevant in an ever-changing world.

By the way, even if you're on a budget, you can still get a good website design that offers mobile-friendly functionality. In fact, there are lots of affordable website design services that include responsiveness in their basic packages. So, just don't sell yourself or your business short. 

Did you know that only 50% of SMBs even have a website, and only a fraction of those are suitable for mobile viewing? You can do better than that. Get on the responsive website design bandwagon, and help give your business the edge.

Amanda Bradley
Amanda Bradley's interests and experience stretch from business to tech, via marketing, hi-tech and travel. Amanda uses her research and writing skills, together with her curiosity about every field and industry, to understand each topic from the inside and share it in an engaging, enticing way.