“Responsive” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “reacting in a desired or positive way”. When we use the word in the sense of web design, it refers to how a website looks and works on a variety of screen sizes on different devices. With the wide variety of phones, tablets, and computers on the market today, your website needs to be ready to be viewed on any number of them at any given time. Many of your customers and clients will have different preferences on which device they like to browse the web on, so having your website be able to adapt to as many of them as possible is crucial to the success of your site. With responsive web design, a website should “react in a desired and positive way” on every screen and device.
Why Is Mobile Browsing so Important?
Over 50% of the world uses mobile phones to browse the internet. (source)
The average adult spends over 50% of their daily internet browsing time on a mobile device. (source)
In 2015, it was reported that 68% of US adults owned a smartphone and 45% owned a tablet. (source)
Those are just a few reasons why mobile browsing is important for your business. It’s safe to assume that those numbers are going to increase as younger generations are growing into the consumer age and engaging with more advanced technology. More and more people will be jumping on the smartphone wagon and using all of its powerful functionality to access new information. This definitely includes browsing the web on the go!
Smartphones and tablets are so common nowadays that you have to assume that at least some of your customers will be using those devices to find your business online. If someone finds your business card (or just your URL) while they’re out and about, they could use their smartphone or tablet to look your business up right then and there! Your site needs to be ready for this kind of user, and it needs to look as good for them on their phone as it does on their laptop or desktop.
Responsive websites also help reduce the need for annoying “pinch and zoom” browsing, which can be frustrating to users. Mobile websites are inherently easier to use and read on small screens and touch-enabled devices. Users will want to see decent sized fonts so that they can read the content of your site easily on their little screen.
Having a mobile ready website can also help you out with search engine ranking. Search engines like Google will give priority to websites that are mobile ready when a user searches on their phone or tablet. If your site isn’t responsive, it may not show up as high in results for your mobile users.
How Do You Make a Website Responsive?
In order to make your website responsive, it will need to be built and coded with responsive design in mind. Unfortunately, there is no magic plugin that makes your website just work on mobile devices. To be properly setup for mobile browsing, a developer must rewrite your website’s code so that it knows to show, hide, rearrange, and resize elements depending on the screen it’s being viewed on.
Web developers will commonly build websites on a framework that allows the elements on the web page to automatically “flow” and reposition themselves in order to look good on smaller or larger screens. This use of a framework not only keeps the code of your website cleaner (which means it’s easier for your developer to manage), it also makes it much easier to update your website content yourself – without touching code. We use the framework to set up your website so that whenever you add pages, images, blog posts, etc. it adapts that new content to all sorts of screen sizes, automatically. Long gone are the days of separate mobile websites (remember those URLs that started with “m.”?). A good, responsive website allows you to have one site that adapts to every screen and device. No matter what your customers use to browse your site, you can be sure they are seeing all of your content laid out in an easy to use manner.
Having a website for your business is a great step in reaching as many potential customers as possible, but you need to have it mobile ready in order to reach the full potential of that market. If you have a website that needs to be optimized for better mobile browsing, Thought Space can help. We can rebuild your website on a responsive framework that allows the design to adapt to screens of all sizes. Contact us today for a free quote about getting your website ready for mobile browsing!