The mobile platforms market is very fragmented; gone are the days when “mobile-friendly” meant “looks good on iPhone, mostly” — Android is a clear market share leader, and while Blackberry is all but gone, Windows Phone is putting a dent on things, too. This makes responsive web design essential for any business.
Responsive web design is a paradigm that has developed in the early days of mobile web, which essentially boils down to making web pages that can be read easily on any device, regardless of screen size, display capabilities and connection quality.
It’s an essential part of mobile friendly website design, now that “mobile” covers dozens of possible screen sizes and connections ranging from barely-working 3G signals with poor coverage to blazing-fast private Wi-Fi networks.
Why is it so important to have a responsive web design? It’s not only the matter of “how easy” your website is to view! Your website is a gateway to your business, your company image and to your reputation. Just think about a few things:
- Users who casually browse to your company’s website on their tablet or phone can make up as much as one third of those who visit it for the first time. If your website is difficult to read or outright unreadable on their device, they won’t come back. There will be nothing for them to actually remember, so no matter how interested they are, they simply won’t remember to check your website when they get to a “real” computer.
- Casual purchases are an important part of e-commerce purchases. Unless you opted for a responsive web design for your homepage and online shop, users will quickly give up something they don’t feel they immediately need, rather than put up with a poorly-working website.
- A responsive web design is a sign that your company works with high-quality development and design houses and is well-adapted to today’s dynamic technology environment, realizing the importance of mobile friendly website design and highly-accessible content. The opposite is also true: an unresponsive web design will drive high-reputation customers away. Since the company responsible for the visual development of the website also handles the sensitive server-side code, too, which manipulates financial information or personal data, your customers have no reason to assume their important data will be handled any better than the poorly-designed, barely-working, sloppy frontend. In the post-Snowden world, this makes it a must to have a responsive web design.
There is a high demand for developers able to come up with a mobile friendly website design, but a trap many people fall into is testing their design with just one device. You should not do that. If your online presence is important, you should not even consider companies that cannot follow responsive web design practices.
These include progressive enhancement — where features that do not work on certain platforms are not used and replacements with similar functionality are used instead, so that the web page continues to work — and graceful degradation, where, if replacement with an equivalent function is not possible, the web page at least continues to look well and as much of the content as possible is still available.
With such a wide range of devices available, not having a responsive design for a web page means driving away valuable customers.
Author Bio: The author has been working with the leading web site design and development company ROEMIN Creative Technology. He often shares his view by writing posts on current trends in the industry. With this article, he highlights the importance of responsive website design.