These days, users expect websites to work properly across all their devices. More people use mobile to browse the web than ever before, and Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher in search results. It’s tempting to dismiss “responsive” as just the newest trend in web design, but it represents a fundamental shift in how we approach a website build.
What does “Responsive Web Design” mean in practice?
Responsive web design means building one website that adapts intelligently to different types of devices. The same website serves a mobile user, someone on a tablet or a desktop computer. Each user sees a version of the site that is designed for their screen size. It is common to design responsive websites starting with the mobile version, which should display only the most important, crucial pieces of information.
The top reasons for going responsive
Here’s a few reasons responsive is the new standard in website design:
- Users expect it. Any potential customer, client or prospective employee visiting your website expects it to be available and useful on whatever device they choose to use. Mobile is more important than ever, with over half of all web-browsing done on mobile devices since 2014
- It’s great for search. In April, Google announced they will now rank mobile-friendly sites higher in some search results. Google’s recommended method for going mobile is to use a responsive site, rather than a seperate mobile site (eg. mobile.chezkoop.ca used to be the mobile-friendly version of chezkoop.ca). One URL is better for people who want to share your site, too.
- Responsive is long-term. A decade ago, most web browsing was done on desktop computers. These days we use smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops among others. Each of these has a different screen size or interaction device (touch screen vs. mouse & keyboard). Accommodating this range of technology means we prioritise what’s important and build flexibility that will help future-proof the finished product.
Building a responsive website is the new default option for building a site. Web users appreciate a finely-tuned web experience regardless of what they’re using to view it.