Why You Should Consider Responsive Design
It’s hard to keep track of the latest mobile devices, let alone figuring out how to optimize your site for each model. This has caused huge problems for businesses, particularly small ones where resources can be limited. Most SMB’s find themselves losing out on sales or site traffic because the user experience on their customer’s mobile device is anything but ideal.
Typically the bounce rate is 10-15% higher when the website is not properly optimized for mobile. The number of pages visited and the amount of time spent on the site is also less: 20-30% and 10-20% respectively. To solve this issue you need to do one of two things:
1) have a standalone mobile site
2) have a responsive web page design
Having a standalone mobile site does have it’s advantages such as tailoring the experience directly to a mobile user, increased load times, and ease of use on a small screen. However, there are many pitfalls with standalone mobile sites too. They typically don’t have all the information the full site has. You may still end up having to cross link to the full site, and tablet users typically don’t enjoy the mobile-only version. Most standalone mobile pages are optimized for phones, but when they show up on a tablet they typically don’t use all the available screen real estate, leaving the user with an unfavourable experience. This is where having a responsive web design pays back in dividends.
Responsive web design - as the name implies - loads accordingly to not only the device accessing your site but also the screen size. It takes the layout of the site and all of it’s content, then optimizes it in real time to fit the screen properly. What tends to happen is most images are removed in the resizing process so only the raw content is viewable. Then the menus, widgets, and content are reorganized to create a nice even flow to the site.
The main advantage with responsive web design is the ability to deliver the full site experience on a mobile device. I cannot count the number of times I have gone to a site - that I frequent often with a desktop - on a mobile device and not been able to find the information I was looking at previously because of the standalone mobile site. I am sure you have encountered this issue too. Responsive design also eliminates the wasted screen space on tablets, providing the user a richer site experience with their device.
If you are getting your site custom built, it can take a little extra effort from the web designer to execute responsive design effectively. Alternatively, if you are simply going to be using a template to kickstart your site, just look in the description of the template to see if it has responsive design listed as a feature. Whichever way you choose, it’s a good idea to at least consider responsive design. Your customers will thank you.
If you would like to see how a responsive web page works and test your own site. check out http://mattkersley.com/responsive/
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