Just over 13 years ago, the iPhone was released and this changed everything for website owners. The iPhone introduced web browsing to mobile phones in a way that hadn't yet been achieved at such scale. With this came the need to make the layout of websites responsive in order to adapt to the different screen sizes users will view them from.
Now, thirteen years later, approximately 52.6% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Experts predict this will rise to 72.6% in just five years. Although each country has different browsing habits, it is clear that everywhere, these figures will rise.
Why is responsive design important?
Screen sizes are as variable as people. With hundreds of different devices being used to browse the content on your website, it is important that the content is displayed in an optimal way, regardless of the type and size of the user's device. With a 'one size fits all' approach, your users will have to resort to zooming in, adjusting their screen to navigate and view your content.
More often than not, this will result in frustration. A frustrated user is more likely to close your website and go elsewhere.
Key benefits of responsive design?
Google penalises websites that are not responsive to different screen sizes. Building your website to work properly on all devices will increase your ranking on search engines.
Reduced bounce rate due to a better user experience
Search engines don't like it when users bounce from — leave — your website. Users who view a website on a mobile phone, that isn't optimised for the screen they are viewing it on, are more likely to leave. Search engines view high bounce rates negatively, which impacts your search engine ranking.
No distorted text, images, or endless scrolling for your users
Websites designed with all screens in mind means that images are scaled appropriately, text is laid out with legibility in mind, and the hierarchy of content is done so in a way that users can more easily navigate through your website.
What's the difference between mobile-friendly and responsive design?
- A slimmed down format of the desktop version of your website.
- It doesn't adapt for specific devices, which can still result in a poor user-experience.
- It's the bare minimum mobile design strategy that should be used for mobile visitors.
- It instantly reformats the content, images, and structure of your website for any device, regardless of screen size.
- It's the only way to guarantee your website will look good for different devices.
Although 13 years is a long time, responsive design is not necessarily a standard practice by some people in the industry. Be sure to confirm with your web developer that the website you are investing in will be optimised for different devices and screen sizes.