What Is Responsive Website Design and Why Does it Matter?

Responsive website design has never been more important. What exactly is it, though, and why is it so important?

In simple terms, responsive website design ensures your website looks great on any size of screen. It is dynamic technology which means your website will automatically detect the size of screen a visitor is using. So, for example, it can tell the difference between a large computer monitor, a mid-size iPad screen, and the screen on a smartphone.

Your website will then “respond” to this screen to rearrange the content so it fits properly on the user’s device. Most responsive websites also have other elements that change depending on the size of the screen, such as the design of the menu.

Is This the Only Option Available to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

Responsive website design is one of two main options you have to make your website mobile-friendly. The other option is to create a mobile version of your website. In other words, developing a separate version of your website that fits and works properly on mobile devices.

As with responsive website design, mobile websites also operate dynamically. This means your website will detect the size of screen your visitor is using and will then show them the most appropriate version of your website, i.e. the desktop version or the mobile version.

Which is the Best Option – Responsive Website Design or a Mobile Website?

Most experts recommend you go for responsive website design. There are two main reasons for this.

The first is there are no standard sizes of device or screen. As a result, visitors to your website could use just about any size of screen. When you create a mobile version of your website, you will make it suitable for as many sizes as possible. It is very hard (if not impossible), however, to create a version for every screen size possibility. This means some users may have a poor user experience.

The other reason why experts recommend responsive websites rather than mobile websites is management. With a mobile website, you will have two standalone websites to manage. So, for example, when adding content, you must add it to both.

With a responsive website design, you only have one website which is much easier to manage.

Why Does Responsive Website Design Matter?

Many people would say responsive website design is important because it helps with your ranking on Google. We’ll come back to this in a moment, however, as there is a much more important reason for ensuring your website is responsive and fully optimised for mobile – your users.

More and more people now use their phones to not only browse the internet, but also perform tasks on the internet they would previously have only done on a computer. So, if your website is not responsive, mobile users will have a poor user experience. This will impact the performance of your website and the results it achieves.

Turning back to Google, it also recognises the growing trend of people using mobiles to access the internet. In addition, Google wants to ensure its users – the people who use its search engine – have as good a user experience as possible. As a result, it prioritises mobile-friendly websites when people use its search engine on a mobile device.

In other words, if you don’t have a responsive website design, you may get fewer visitors than you could, and the visitors you do get will receive a poor user experience if they are using a mobile device.

So, if your website isn’t responsive, the time to act is now.