Selection of mobile website sketches and layouts on wooden table

What does it mean to have a responsive website?

There is nothing more annoying than a website that you can’t read on different devices because the sizing is all wrong. Or when you have to zoom in to read anything on your mobile and squint your eyes! Its a quick and easy way to lose customers to your your site.

What is means to have a responsive website:

Having a responsive website means that the website design is flexible, dynamically changing in appearance depending on the size and orientation of the device it’s being viewed on. This ensures it is optimised to be aesthetically pleasing and functional for the best user experience. Therefore the layout of the website will adjust to the screen based on the device being used including desktop, tablets and mobile phones. This is so important in todays world when we use multiple devices throughout the day, switching from mobiles and desktops or using both at the same time! I bet you’re not surprised to hear that research shows 80% of internet users now own smartphone.

“Responsive web design offers us a way forward, finally allowing us to design for the ebb and flow of things.” 
dandelion seeds close up
Ethan Marcotte

Website content:

The content on each page of the website needs to be designed to fit the different screen sizes. This will mean that some of the elements or images may be hidden or different in the varying devices to give the user a better browsing experience with each device. Ensuring elements are not too large for the screen width and visitors on smaller mobile devices don’t need to do extra work to read content. Lets face it, it’s a real pain when your forced to do unnecessary resizing or zooming to read the content, which so often happens from sites not optimised for the different sized devices.

Google search:

Did you know that a responsive website in combination with other SEO factors can rank higher in a google search as they gives preference to websites that are mobile-friendly.

In 2015 google announced a big  change :

“We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Now searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling”

They acknowledged consumer behaviour was trending towards using mobiles as their main device.

In July 2019, Google introduced the concept of mobile-first indexing so that all new websites mobile version became the primary point that Google indexes and ranked from. Again increasing the importance of a responsive website design.

I hope this helped in your understanding of what it means to have a responsive site and why its so important in your design process.

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