What is the purpose of responsive web design?

Less than a decade ago, the buzz was all about creating mobile versions of your website. If you wanted to reach your target demographics, you needed a version for iPhones, Androids, iPads, Kindles, and even Blackberries, all with different screen resolutions to match.

Thankfully this mobile version madness is outdated. It’s no longer essential to create a different version of your site for every gizmo and gadget out there. Instead, responsive design allows your website to automatically switch to the best resolution, image sizes, and scripting resolutions for the user’s hardware.

Not only is this easier on your end, but it’s also more affordable to implement. After all, you only need to pay for one design rather than mobile versions for every different gadget and phone. So, what is the purpose of responsive web design, and why is it so important?

What is responsive design?
Responsive design is a concept that states design should always suit and respond to a user’s behaviour and their environment.

A website that uses responsive design will automatically adapt to any screen size and allows the designer to retain the look and feel of the website, without necessarily losing the aesthetics. This makes it easier for your customers to navigate around the website which helps towards increasing your CRO (conversion rate optimisation) – your website will appear the same on a desktop, a tablet, or a mobile phone. That means your users don’t get stuck trying to scroll horizontally or pinch the screen to read your content or see your photos. It’s intuitive and automatic, So your user just has a very clear and positive experience without giving it a second thought.. When they navigate to your site, it will appear clear and easy to read, no matter what device they’re using.

Without getting too technical, fully responsive web design is made possible by the use of fluid grids. Essentially, these are ‘liquid layouts’ that scale up and down, left and right, depending on your user’s specific screen, as opposed to fixed-width grids that are static to your website dimensions, and don’t shift and change.

Fixed-width grids are the reason why you’ve had to scroll madly to the right when reading certain sites on your phone. You may have noticed that this happens less and less these days, because more developers are using responsive web development so that page elements constantly resize in relation to one other.

What is the purpose of responsive web design?
We all navigate between different screens. You start a piece of work on your office desktop, and then pull out your laptop for work on the go. Your tablet may be the device of choice while you relax in the evening, and you glance over at your kids’ phones to see what they’re up to. Of course, throughout the entire day, you’re regularly accessing your phone and using it for work and distraction.

Now think about all of the websites you looked at throughout the day. Imagine if they looked off-kilter or operated in a clunky way when you switched from your desktop to your phone, especially when you were about to check-out a full basket. If the website speed was slow, or if the info was unclear, jumbled, or operating strangely, you’d likely abandon the basket and navigate to a competitor to complete the transaction.

That’s why it’s essential to implement responsive web design. If you operate an e-commerce shop, not only could you be losing sales, but you’re also certainly losing credibility with users. Responsive websites allow for a seamless navigating experience and remove obstacles between your users and your content. Why make it harder for them to understand your message and use your site?

Why you need a responsive design
The best responsive sites out there share one thing in common – the user never even realises the coding is there. Their experience is seamless from one device to the next, never interrupted by the need to scroll horizontally, parse jumbled text, or resize images.

In addition to simple ease and convenience, there are several reasons why responsive design should be one of your web design objectives.

• Google prioritises sites with responsive design – As far back as 2015, Google made mobile-friendliness one of the key ranking factors for its ever-changing algorithms. That means that if your site isn’t responsive, you are losing ground. You’re falling lower in search engine results that the sites who take this responsive design seriously. Why miss out on this valuable resource to boost your SEO?
• A responsive layout adapts to every screen size – Every model of phone, laptop, smartwatch, tablet, and desktop has a different screen size. Fully responsive web design ensures that your content smoothly adapts to those different sizes. As more and more people adopt IoT household appliances, this will become more important than ever. You don’t have to panic when a new product comes onto the market – you’re already covered.
• Responsive web design means lower bounce rates and higher conversions – If you’re still asking, “but what is the purpose of responsive web design for my business?” this will be the kicker. As we’ve discussed, a responsive site provides a better overall experience for your user, ensuring that they explore your site for longer and spend more time checking out your content. Once you lower your bounce rate and create a better user experience, you’ll soon find that your conversion rates improve.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of responsive design
Simply by asking ‘what is the purpose of responsive web design?’, you’re already on your way to improving your site’s user experience and increasing its efficacy. If you only take one piece of information away from this article, it should be that responsive design is a quick, simple, and affordable way to make your site work better and do more for your business.