What do the websites of Kershaw Knives, Starbucks and Suit Supply have in common? The answer is that no matter what device their visitors may visit them on, they treat them all to the sensitive usability experience that modern web design is capable of – through responsive web design.
What is responsive web design?
Many retailers lavish attention on designing apps for every major mobile platform that their visitors arrive on – Android and iOS, usually. When mobile visitors try to access their main website directly without bothering to download the app, though, the only concession they get is a dumbed down version of the main desktop website – a mobile version that offers little of the richness that the main site offers. Since most casual or first-time visitors are unlikely to be interested enough to download the app, they come away with a less-than-ideal impression of what the business is capable of. There is an alternative, though – responsive web design.
Responsive websites come with special programming that allows them to sense what the screen size on a viewer’s device is. The screen size can be different in any of the following ways.
A computer with old CRT screen or a new widescreen with one of many available screen resolutions.
A browser window resized in any way.
A non-standard feature phone screen, a smartphone, a tablet, a car interface or Google Glass.
Whatever the display area, a website with responsive programming is able to work it out with the browser to make sure that all content is being arranged automatically to fit in the screen with no need for side-to-side scrolling.
No matter how small their browser window, consumers on responsive websites are able to see their content with a minimum of scrolling hassle.
The rewards can be immediate
You can try websites like Starbucks on the computer to see what responsive design feels like. Dragging to resize your browser window any way you wish, you see the browser and the website scramble to rearrange all the content to make it visible with no scrolling. Responsive web design comes with immediate and tangible benefits.
If you are serious about your SEO, you should quickly switch to responsive web design – Google actually recommends it for the way it simplifies search indexing. With just one website version to contend with on each domain (instead of a mobile version and a computer version), search indexing can take less time for search engine.
Build once and use everywhere
A financially well-off business with a loyal customer base could viably invest in several versions of its website and continually lay out cash to maintain them all – one for its computer visitors, one for mobile phone browser visitors and several native apps for smartphone visitors. Small businesses, though, do constantly need to make the most prudent use of their funds.
Small business owners constantly look for ways to better financial efficiency. If the price of hosting goes up, for instance, they need to go to a service like www.VirtualHosting.com to find cost-effective hosting. They look for cheaper web developers to get the job done, too. In this spirit, refusing to wastefully build several versions of one website should be considered an effective way of cutting down on waste.
It is a better idea to build one website that uses responsive web design and sell to every kind of customer with it.
Gavin Carter is a mobile design expert. He frequently writes about the benefits of small business mobile design on marketing blogs.