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You may have heard the term ‘responsive website’ and wondered what it means. You may also be unsure as to whether it is necessary to implement responsive web design into your own website, what the benefits are and also how easy or difficult it is.
With over 50% of users now using their mobile to view your website, making your website responsive will make it more mobile-friendly, optimise how it looks on both large and small devices and also improve your rankings in Google. Visitors may also spend more time on your site due to the slicker experience.
Let’s take a look at the benefits and how it can improve your website.
A responsive website responds to the size of the screen size that it is being viewed on and scales up or down automatically to give the user the most optimised experience. So on mobile devices, the content such as text and imagery will shrink to fit better on the smaller screen size while on a larger device, the content will appear bigger and use more of the screen space.
Since the website will scale to any screen size, this will in turn improve the user experience. So when a user visits your website on mobile, they are going to get a much better experience than if your site wasn’t built responsively. Instead of having to pinch and zoom the screen to click buttons and read the text, now they will be able to browse your website just like an app, as though it has been designed especially for your mobile. It is much the same on tablets too.
If you have a website that isn’t mobile friendly, you always have the option to create a separate mobile version of your website. This was popular a few years ago as it meant not having to change your current site and you could just simply ‘bolt on’ the mobile version. This solution had some problems though as the separate mobile website didn’t work on larger devices in between desktop and mobile sizes such as smaller screens or tablets. So there was still some users who weren’t catered for and ultimately a flawed experience. So with a responsive website, it means you can design and build it once and it is totally future proof to work on any device you can throw at it, no matter what size.
Having a responsive website will also improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and in turn your ranking. Google for example now looks for websites that have been designed and built responsively to work on all devices and prefers them to websites that don’t. So not making your website responsive will surely hurt your chances to get on page one and this will almost certainly be affecting how many customers land on your site. What better reason do you need for doing it?
The best thing to do would be to get your website designed and built from scratch with responsive in mind from the start. This will ensure that everything has been thought of in terms of how everything scales up and down and the code can then be optimised when it is built. Your responsive web designer will usually produce both a desktop visual of your website and a mobile visual so you can see exactly how it will look before it gets built. You can then make any changes needed, tweaking the overall look and feel so it is optimised as much as possible. Then the developer will be able to code it in the best way to keep it as lean and fast as possible.
Alternatively, you could look to add in additional code to your current website and your website will change depending on the size. This sounds like an easier way on paper but it really depends on how well your original website has been put together as to how well this will work. It might involve rebuilding the navigation for example or changing whole sections of code and by the end might have been easier to just rebuild the whole website from scratch. Usually speaking to a developer will shine some light on the best way for you to implement it.