Every website is designed for a purpose and will need to have features required by users to give a good experience. Based on the needs of a particular business, websites are made by choosing features that make sense and eliminating those that are not appreciated by the target audience of a given business. For example, the shopping cart feature which is critical for an e-commerce site doesn’t make sense to most B2B websites. An effectively constructed website has higher possibility of converting visitors into prospective customers than a mediocre site. No matter how big or small the site is or what kind of technology it is using for web design, being mobile friendly is important feature today for a website.
What is a mobile friendly design?
While adopting mobile friendly concept, website owners use different design approaches. Sometimes, site is designed first for smaller screens and then upgraded to larger versions as in mobile first method or it can be created as separate m dot site with different domain names. Among these methods, responsive design is said to be the wise approach because the page elements automatically alter their size to give best possible look on various devices. Based on the device type responsive design adjusts itself to the screen and displays the website in appropriate size. When sites are built as responsive, there is no need to worry about the site responding properly to various resolutions, screen sizes and browsers. The site seamlessly works on various devices and changes automatically to any screen size.
Websites that adopt responsive design has the following benefits –
Consistency across multiple device
When users access internet sites they use multiple devices with different screen sizes. Some may use a 14 inch tab for accessing a website while others may browse the same website from a 5 inch smartphone. Regardless of browser & screen size, the site must work well in all devices otherwise users may lose interest in visiting those websites. The content that is visible on one device should be available when they access the site from other devices. That means there should be consistency in availability of content irrespective of the device. If design is not responsive, users may find some of the content missing in smaller versions which may lead to confusion or frustration.
Easy to manage
With many variations in web design, creating an effective website and maintaining it up-to date is itself a hard and time consuming task. It becomes more difficult if businesses have multiple websites to care for. Making websites compatible for different displays is even more challenging because they have to create different websites for mobile and desktop versions. Responsive design reduces the effort of creating and maintaining multiple site versions for different device screen sizes. It not only saves time & effort spending on maintaining multiple versions but also improves user experience and brand reputation.
Improves site rankings
With Google making mobile-friendly as a part of search engine ranking, websites that have responsive design will likely rank higher when compared to normal websites. That means websites with mobile friendly approach will appear on top pages when users search for a particular website. Google is not going to punish the websites that do not look and perform well on mobile devices, but it may reduce the rankings in search engine results if the site is not responsive with mobile-friendly approach.
Having two separate websites for desktop and mobile versions is not only tough to maintain but also requires more funds and resources. Some people have a misconception, that having two separate websites will simplify the complexity of web design and spend more money in creating multiple versions. Having a single site eliminates the extra effort & expenses, and will yield substantial savings in terms of hosting, SEO activity and site maintenance.
Positive impact on website reputation
Upgrading to responsive design is obviously a plus point to websites because these days most of the internet browsing is done by mobile devices. When switching from desktop to mobile screens many of the features get distorted and users do not see the original version of the website. When there is too much scrolling and pinching to view the web page, users get frustrated and may not like to visit that website again. On the other hand, mobile optimized websites give good user experience because the layout adjusts itself to the device screen size. Users feel comfortable browsing such internet sites rather than having bad experience with distorted websites. Hence, having a mobile friendly responsive design not only drives Traffic to the Website but also improves brand image and site reputation.
By: Uma Sri