The Case for Responsive Design

Mar 12, 2013Mobile Marketing, Websites

Last month, we wrote about responsive website design and how this technique is at the forefront of design and development strategy. Responsive Website Design, otherwise known as RWD, has actually been around for a while. It’s gaining fast momentum as a trend because of the way in which the majority of people now browse the internet. According to a report published in Digital Trends, the internet is primarily the “mobile internet”. “Mobile devices running iOS and Android now account for 45 percent of browsing, compared to just 35 percent for Windows machines.” Further the article predicts the worldwide number of smartphone and tablet users will outgrow the worldwide number of PC users this year. Simply put, the majority of people in the world will be using mobile devices over traditional desktops or laptops. These statistics should absolutely be considered when developing your company’s web strategy.

Responsive website design is a web development approach that considers all sizes of devices in which consumers are browsing websites–computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Responsive design addresses this issue by delivering the exact same website, regardless of screen size, but in an optimized way so as to avoid pinching and scrolling on smaller sized screens. Ultimately, the content is the same, no matter the screen. The way in which the site is laid out changes based on size. At Rave Retailer, we are in favor of RWD for a number of reasons. Our team of developers understand the pros and cons, and we create websites with these considerations in mind. As you plan your strategy, here are a few things you should know.

Google love responsive design. That’s a pretty big pro. This article by Econsultancy details our number one reason for moving toward responsive design. “Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.” In a nutshell, developing your website via RWD will deliver better SEO (search engine optimization).

One code. Responsive Design uses a single code that delivers to any screen. From a development perspective, this is good because updates only have to be completed once instead of several times which ultimately saves time and money.

Optimized. Responsive sites look better and can be shared more easily if developed properly. Viewers using the site on a smartphone no longer have to scroll and pinch to get access to the content they are looking for. Everything viewed on the site from a desktop or laptop is also on the mobile version of the site, but is laid out differently in an effort to optimize the content from a smartphone.

Considerations. While responsive design is absolutely our recommendation in website development, there are some key components to consider when making your move to RWD. Depending on the web company you choose, these considerations could be cons if your site is not developed properly. Because RWD is just now gaining momentum as a favored development strategy, there are not many best practices to observe when getting started. Here are a few things you should consider:

Consider customization and prioritization of your core message for a smartphone. Because there is less viewable content when initially viewing a RWD website via a smartphone, nailing the navigation and presenting the most important information first is key.

Because the code is essentially the same regardless of device size, there is potential for slow load time on a site developed using RWD. Talk with your development company about ways to reduce loading time.

RWD requires more development time, and more coding and testing. Essentially, plan for this. It is critical to keep open lines of communication between you and your web development company. Set your objectives and talk through them at the beginning of a project to avoid confusion in the long run.

Contact Rave Retailer today to make your move to responsive website design. We are happy to talk with you more about the pros and considerations, as well as other online strategies to help you sell more.