Why Do You Need Responsive Web Design

If you’re still wondering if you need a responsive website, this article should help you get a better idea of why you should optimize your site for mobile today.

Has this ever happened to you – it’s lunchtime, you pick your phone to look something up. Maybe your company needs a new vendor, or you saw an interesting new service in an ad. You click through to the site only to find that it is absolutely unreadable. The fonts are barely legible: you have to scroll and zoom in to be able to read anything. It’s difficult to navigate the site and finding what you’re looking for takes an extra effort. It might look better on your desktop, but you have no time to do this now. Very likely you’ll end up doing something else, like looking at a competitor’s website. Their offer isn’t even that good, but at least you can read it.

It may or may not be a familiar situation, but if your site isn’t optimized for mobile in 2021, you’re doing a great disservice to your business. Only 10 years ago, in 2011, merely 5.21% of the global website traffic came from mobile devices. In 2021 this number increased more than tenfold. 56.12% of traffic comes from people browsing the internet via their smartphones or tablets. Would you risk missing out on more than half of your potential clients? To avoid such a situation, you’d want to make your website responsive.

What is a responsive web design?

During the early days of the internet, everyone used to browse from their desktop computers. Everyone used more or less the same screens, so there was no need to adapt content to different devices. But as mobile devices emerged, web developers were facing a new challenge – how to make the website content display adequately on all these different devices with different screen sizes? There are two different approaches to solve this problem.

The first one is adaptive design. With adaptive design, web developers create different versions of the site for each different screen size. Adaptive websites offer an experience tailored for every device, they tend to be faster than their responsive counterparts, and it’s easier to optimize ad banners on them. But this impressive list of benefits comes with one serious flaw – adaptive websites require that each version is developed separately. This makes the web development process more expensive.

Another and more common approach is responsive design. When creating a responsive website, a developer need to create only one version (these days it’s often the mobile one). This version can fluidly adapt to any screen size. Responsive sites are easier to develop and maintain.

Cost-effective development and maintenance

There’s only one version of the site to take care of (unlike adaptive sites, when you have to work with up to 6 separate versions). This cuts down the development time and costs. It also means it’s easier to maintain your site, as any change needs to be made only once, instead of doing it for each separate version.

Positive effects on SEO

One major benefit of going responsive is its obvious impact on the SEO. In 2016 Google announced that they’ll begin switching to mobile-first indexing. This process was finalized in March-April 2021. What this means is that if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, Google can penalize you. However, having a responsive site lowers the bounce rate, decreases your page load time, and helps with duplicate content issues – an inevitable byproduct of multiple page versions in adaptive sites.

Improved user experience

No amount of technical benefits can compare with the importance of a great user experience. If you optimize your site for mobile devices, you’re ensuring that nothing stands between your visitors and your content. Your site will be fast enough so that they don’t quit before it loads. They won’t have to scroll vertically back and forth all the time. Fonts and images will be legible without zooming in. And the layout will have enough breathing room so there will be no mistaps.

Not having a responsive site in 2021 is a grave mistake that can undermine all your further efforts. Fortunately, if you hire professional developers, the entire process of creating a new site will be streamlined and painless. Updating the existing non-mobile-friendly site is also a straightforward process. It only deals with the frontend part, so there are zero risks of losing data or any other unforeseen consequences.