Responsive Web Design: Adaptable Design for the Mobile Era

Posted by on Dec 7, 2012 in SEO, Web Design

It’s a term you might not have heard before, responsive web design, but in an era where a user could access your site from a computer, a tablet and a phone over the course of a single day it’s an important piece of information to understand. Responsive web design allows for dynamic websites that adapt to fit the multitude of devices visitors use. This design makes it possible to maintain a uniform user experience that is enjoyable on any screen size, all while providing major SEO and management benefits.

The Need for Responsive Mobile Friendly Design

In the past few years, the amount of platforms used to access the Internet has exploded. Websites, once constrained to a computer monitor, can now be viewed from an enormous and growing variety of devices. Each of these devices, from tablets to smartphones to televisions, have different screen sizes and resolutions that make uniform web development a challenge. While producing a conventional website for every possible variation of these mediums would be nearly impossible, responsive web design allows for the consistent development and display of content across a wide variety of devices.

The Details

Responsive web design utilizes Cascading Style Sheets, CSS for short, to produce fluid websites that adapt to fit the screen on which they are displayed. While a conventional desktop website would be very hard to use on a mobile device, one built with responsive web design can maintain the same elements as its desktop counterpart while arranging them in a mobile-friendly manner. This means that a single website can be built and advertised for all devices, regardless the screen dimensions.

The Benefits

Responsive web design allows for simplified and direct access to a website, regardless of whether the visitor is a human user or search engine crawler. Search engines are better able to crawl and catalog these websites due to their uniformity and the simplicity with which they can be accessed. While differentiating a mobile or tablet version of a conventional website would require redirects, subdomains, and separate sites, responsive websites are always ready for viewing immediately and directly–-whether it be by a search engine or a real person.

Search engine optimization for responsive sites is furthered by the inherent ease of management. A single interface for a single site with a single strategy is possible for every conceivable device. No longer do SEO strategies need to be designed and tailored for a mobile, tablet and desktop version of a single website: responsive web design simplifies this and many other management functions by keeping one site consistent across devices.

The direct pathway to your site provided by responsive web design encourages frequent use, lowers bounce rates and increases conversions. Users love websites that are easy to use wherever they are, and being able to adapt to different devices means a responsive site will be accessible 24/7. Visitors are much less likely to leave a website that fits the device they’re currently using. With responsive web design, a single site can be marketed, managed and delivered with no compatibility issues amongst the mass of devices used by consumers today.

Bottom Line: Can you afford NOT to have a responsive site?

As more and more responsive sites hit the web each day, customers will begin to demand websites that can adapt to fit their needs. Websites that lack the adaptability provided by responsive design are inherently more complex and often miss out on a variety of benefits, such as increased mobile conversion rates and simplified management. Responsive web design can open a multitude of doors for you and your visitors and enable your website to be more dynamic, user-friendly and easy to manage.

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