Why responsive web design matters to meet the needs of your multi-platform customers.
Have you ever tried to look up a bit of trivia on your phone only to find that the web page you wanted couldn’t be displayed? Or been out shopping and found that the price comparison site you visit isn’t supported on mobile devices? Did your mobile device or the nearest object suffer violently at your outraged hands in response? You aren’t alone. More and more people are using mobile devices to access their favourite sites, and with that has emerged a new set of frustrations for users and challenges for web designers. And from this magical combination, responsive web design was born.
Out With the Old, In With the New
As great as our desktop computers once seemed, it’s hard to view them nowadays as more than relics of a time gone by. Visit your local natural history museum and you’re sure to find a preserved skeleton of some bygone homo sapien crouching at its Macintosh 128k. Ah, those simple, pastoral times when all we had to worry about was gathering berries, hunting small game and accessing web pages on one device.
Times have changed, and along with agriculture, art, science, and philosophy came that other pillar of human civilization: mobile technology. Bye-bye desktops, hello responsive design.
The Secret to a Seamless Viewing Experience
While creating a system in which the browser can detect the proper display format to suit the device may have seemed like black magic during the early days of the Internet, the trend has long been embraced among endorsers as high-ranking as Google as the future of web content marketing.
You’ve likely heard tale of responsive web design (known in hip circles as RWD), and may have even dabbled in the black magic yourself. But if you haven’t fully welcomed the shift to RWD, we’re here to explain why the landscape of web design is forever changed because of it.
RWD creates accessibility of your online content on any device using a liquid layout that modern browsers can adapt to each device’s sizing and formatting needs. Flexible screen widths and images allow your web page to fit within the resolution of the device on which it’s being viewed.
Think of it like pouring water from a glass into a bottle. The water takes the shape of whatever container it has, much in the same way that RWD adapted content takes the shape of whatever viewing format you choose. It isn’t magic. (Okay, maybe a little bit.)
Boosting Your Business With RWD
An analysis of the top 100 sites as ranked by Alexa in 2014 showed that nearly 89 percent of top sites used a responsive approach to adjust web pages to various platforms. That kind of majority is no coincidence.
Research conducted by Verve found that 25 percent of Internet users only access the Internet on their mobile devices. Throw in all the users who access the Internet on their desktops as well as mobiles, and you’ve got a significant mobile army. So it came as no surprise when comScore reported in 2014 that mobile is now the leading digital platform. We stretched and yawned as the throngs of mobile users we’d long predicted swarmed in the sea of unoptimized web pages. Won’t you put them out of their misery? If not for their sake, for the sake of your business?
RWD is the clear direction in which the future of web design is headed. The math checks out: you’re keeping costs down by administering a single website instead of multiple URLs for each medium, as well as providing a seamless experience for your users who view content on both standard and mobile devices. You’re also decreasing the burden on your computer network, as the single URLs for each page will free up the clutter in your servers (and likely keep your IT team happy as well.) Plus, you’ll be relieving that mobile army that seems just about ready to resort to violent protest — shudder.
As technology improves, it’s likely that more ways to view content will develop just as quickly as we can develop the content itself. The ball is in your court here. By upgrading with adaptive content and responsive web design, you can ensure that your pages stay in the race for viewership in the online community and you aren’t one of the companies left behind by sticking to outdated practices. Your customers are there already — make sure you’re there with them.
How have you updated your content marketing to reflect the needs of consumers? Are there other ways to utilize adaptive content and RDW to stand out from the crowd? We welcome your comments below!