The latest buzzword to be thrown around digital media circles is 'responsive' web design. Responsive web design is taking the digital industry by storm and is being embraced by major brands such as Jaguar Land Rover and Microsoft.
So what is responsive web design and why does it matter? In a nutshell, it means a web layout that adapts, in terms of resizing, across a huge range of mobile devices, no matter what size the screen is. With a 55% increase in mobile subscriptions in 2012, responsive design is not the future, it is the here and now.
The importance of a responsive design has increased because we have entered the age of the Multi- Screen consumer. Consumers are using multiple platforms every day whether they are at work or at home. With a responsive website, businesses can be in front of consumers at every step of their online journey. People who search for a business’ site, begin reading content and viewing videos from their desktop computers at work, and then look for the same business on their smartphones during lunch are able to continue their research into products and services uninterrupted. The sudden adoption of devices such as the iPad, particularly by the older consumer, has meant this trend is not just for the younger generation – everyone’s at it! It’s now common practice to be accessing content from multi screens whether you are at home or in work from updating your status on Facebook via your iPhone, to downloading music on your iPad, to watching @HouseOfCards on Netflix via Apple TV.
Yahoo has highlighted the importance of an accessible mobile site, stating that ‘52% of mobile users won’t engage with a brand that delivers a poor mobile experience’. This shows that it would be unwise for any website publisher to ignore the importance of responsive web design in 2013.
A responsive site is future-proof. Responsive design also delivers a far better consumer experience. Users want all the content, presented in a way that’s accessible and easy to navigate. A responsive design does away with the need to scroll and zoom, which can often be very frustrating. The benefits are obvious: You build a website once, and it works seamlessly across thousands of different screens.
Responsive sites also improve your Search Engine Optimisation. Companies sometimes build separate sites for tablet, mobile, and desktop browsers, with numerous link paths to guide their customers onto the correct version of their site. Focusing your links on a single responsive site, ensures page rankings are never compromised and that your website is viewed consistently across multiples devices.
Mobile devices and mobile usage are continuing to rise at an exponential rate, and this will only increase further over the next couple of years. For those of us who create websites and services, all this leads to a singular conclusion: A million screens have bloomed, and we need to build for all of them. One thing is certain, you don’t want to fall behind and watch your competitors launch responsive websites while yours is still stuck in 2010 (or earlier). The time to get responsive with your web design is now – and Fotofire can help with that 😉 Web designers and companies must learn to adapt their website with responsive intentions, or risk being left behind. Responsive web design is becoming the “new normal”, and industry experts are heralding 2013 as the Year of Responsive Web Design.