Responsive Web Design & You

You see it everywhere. It pops up on phones, tablets, websites and advertisements seemingly without end. “Mobile Friendly”, “Mobile Optimized”, “View For Mobile”—but no matter how it’s worded, the phrases all mean the same thing: Responsive design.

So what exactly is responsive design? Why does responsive design matter and do we really need it?  In order to understand a little more clearly, let’s go back in time a bit. The mid 90’s to be exact—a time of Goosebumps, Tamagotchis, Nintendo 64 and 56k modems. The internet was still fairly new to common households and websites hardly had the capabilities that they now have today. For those of us passionate about [cursed with] the desire to know how everything works, we dove straight into learning web design with aspirations to create something amazing. We quickly realized that web design wasn’t without it’s own hurdles, and the cost for “amazing” was our sanity.

Websites were initially designed entirely around the resolutions (screen sizes) of computer monitors. Ahh, the good ole CRT’s. Back then, there were hardly any web standards in place. Technology was progressing incredibly fast and website code had not yet adapted to the need to display content uniformly on differently sized screens. So designers had to assume everyone was running outdated displays—designing for the old, as well as the new. In order to make that happen, one would need to create multiple versions of the same website, with each version catering to different screen sizes. After countless hours, emotional meltdowns and (I’m sure) several cases of arthritis, most of us just gave up; we resorted to disclaimers on our pages saying “Site best viewed at 1024 x 768 resolution” and left it at that. Everyone else would just have to deal with it. It was hell.

After countless hours, emotional meltdowns and several cases of arthritis, most of us just gave up.

Thankfully, times (and technology) have changed. We’ve come a long way from beepers, flip-phones and PDAs. Smartphones, tablets and computerized watches now endlessly flood the market every year. While this shift in technology has made a massive difference for consumers as a whole, it’s also largely impacted the web. Websites finally evolved to meet the demand; standards were established and design capabilities were expanded. Now, decades later, a responsive design for a single webpage can automatically realign/resize any text, images, forms, or anything else to fill a 40 inch monitor’s screen and be able to shrink down enough to fit on your cellphone on the fly — all without breaking a sweat. No side-scrolling, no images cut in half, no buttons or links that can’t be viewed because your screen is too small; it’s magical, it’s amazing, it’s glorious. Still not perfect… but it’s pretty darn close.

So how does this affect you? You’re not a designer so why should you care, right? Well, here’s the deal — most people nowadays consider it a necessity to have instant access to information. And if no desktop computer is nearby, the first device that will be used to research your company will probably be a smartphone. Consider this: Google processes over 40,000 searches every second. That’s over 3.5 billion searches per day. Pretty amazing, huh? Now, here’s the kicker — nearly 60% of those 3.5 billion searches are done on a mobile device. That’s 2.1 billion searches from a phone or tablet. Now, more than ever, it’s extremely important for websites to be optimized for mobile devices.

Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day — nearly 60% of those searches are done on a mobile device.

Using these numbers, we can assume that over 60% of the visitors to your website will view it on a mobile device. So if your website is not optimized for mobile viewing, that means that 60% of your visitors will have to drag the screen around, working 5x harder to read text or click on buttons/links spread far outside their viewing area. On a non-optimized site, your visitors may even miss the super important things, like forms or ‘Call To Action’ areas that drive a huge portion of your visitors into actually becoming customers. Furthermore, studies have shown that over 80% of visitors to a website will leave the site within the first 8 seconds if it’s not optimized for their device, leaving you with only the remaining 20% of visitors that you might reach—a devastating blow from a problem that could have been easily fixed.

Whether you’re a website sadist that enjoys taking pleasure in your visitors’ misery, or simply don’t care about the end-user experience on your site, there’s something else to consider as well. Mobile optimization is not just about aesthetics or convenience. Google’s world-renowned page ranking system uses several factors in deciding what page your website ranks on their searches. Can you guess what one of their high-value factors is? You got it. Responsive design.

“Mobile optimization is now a web standard, not a commodity — you should never pay extra for something to work properly.”

All of our websites designed at Vextris are built with responsive design from the ground up. There’s no extra fees, no monthly payments. Nothing. We firmly believe that mobile optimization is now a web standard, not a commodity — you should never pay extra for something to work properly.

So what are you waiting for? Connect with our team today to get a website that works for you, not against you.