The Benefits of Responsive Web Design
Since we already know how responsive website design works from a programming and development perspective, I think it’s important that we also discuss the benefits of responsive web design for the user and search engines. Since responsive design will adapt to any screen size and to different devices, it eliminates a lot of the problems that arise for the user when switching from computer to tablet or tablet to mobile, etc. Here are the biggest reasons why your site should be responsive:
A Seamless & Complete User Experience
Often a user will visit your site and bookmark it, then revisit the site while on their phone or tablet. If you have a dedicated, separate mobile site, the user will have to adjust to the sometimes jarring design and interface changes between the two versions. Often mobile sites will remove some dynamic content to better fit a mobile device’s capabilities, but this also removes potentially important information that will force the user to revert to the “full site”. This dissonance between mobile and desktop can often impede the user’s experience.
Another aspect of providing a positive user experience is being aware of how long a website takes to load. Mobile devices are often not using a fast WiFi connection, which means that a site redirecting from a full desktop site to a mobile version will actually end up taking more time for the user to view the site, which could cause them to leave the site completely. A responsive website would eliminate the need for a separate mobile site and thus remove any redirects from the experience.
A Single URL Across Devices & Screens
The arguably largest benefit of a responsive site design is that it allows your website to live at a single URL for any device, screen, etc. Search engines will penalize websites with duplicate content, so if you had a site such as www.yoursite.com and then a mobile site at m.yoursite.com and maybe even a tablet site at a 3rd URL, Google would index those 3 sites separately, see that they had the same content, and then lower your ranking score because of it. A single URL means just one site and one set of content for search engines to index, making it easier for them to rank and sort.
I mentioned earlier that redirecting from a desktop to a mobile site can cause a longer loading time for a website. This will actually hurt your search engine ranking as well. Sites like Google and Bing will actually lower the rank of your website if it takes too long to load. A single URL will again help to decrease the loading time of a site and help to improve your rankings.
A “Timeless” Site: Easy to Update & Adapt
If you’ve spent the time designing a beautiful desktop website, it can be frustrating to have those design elements lost when a mobile or tablet site is created. With additional site variation, every time you make a change to the visual design, it means that you will have to make changes to the main site template, the mobile site template, and possibly other templates as well. A responsive site design eliminates the need for multiple templates, so you just make changes to one template.
The device market is an ever-changing beast with new phones and tablets being released every month. This means that there are dozens and dozens of different screen sizes and devices that your site could be viewed on. A responsive site design is “timeless” because it can adapt to any of these new device sizes without being told to. It eliminates the hassle of having to constantly adjust to the new gadget trends.
Having a site that is able to adapt is so important in the modern internet landscape. Users have come to expect a seamless experience between their desktops and phones, and search engines are expecting to find your site’s content in one place, not many. A responsive site design provides an easy solution to all of these problems and makes maintenance easier on your end too. So if you haven’t already considered it, now might be a good time to start thinking about making a change!
Tags: Web Design