Have you ever wondered why your average “time on site” index is low? Have you ever even looked at this number? Whatever your answer is, if such questions arose, something should be done about it. There are different ways of improving the situation but the most crucial one is to design a responsive website.
Ethan Marcotte first discussed the issue of responsive web design in 2010. He raised the question of adapting website content to various screens and go beyond the “desktop-centric context”. It’s been years and some people still ask: “What is a responsive website?”
It is a flexible structure that creates a natural smooth look for your website regardless of the device type. When we offer our clients this service, we stress on its conveniences, such as:
People usually get interested and further engaged as we proceed with our explanations.
I will start with some technical details for you:
In responsive design, developers use one HTML code with the adjustment to the width of the screen. They insert the meta tag meta name = "viewport" to let the browser know how to layout pages. If there is no meta tag, the website will not be scaled preserving the functionality but squeezed to fit into the screen.
In a nutshell:
This particular meta tag tells the browser: “Hey, buddy, adapt me to the size of the device, and do not try to shove me in this little screen as I am!” All devices get one HTML code while CSS determines the page layout depending on the screen type.
Additionally, Google will rank your page higher due to its ability to adjust to small screens. As a result, more potential clients would visit it. Isn’t that what you opt for?
Some people confuse a responsive website with a mobile-ready one. While the latter is, actually, the separate site designed for mobile devices ONLY, the first stands for something different. When you make a responsive website, you create a platform that adjusts to every screen possible your audience might use to ensure the exact same user experience. It is the distinctive feature and an indisputable benefit.
Seems easy, right?
However, there still are companies who create separate websites for particular groups of users. Whereas to build a responsive website would be so much easier and, let’s agree, affordable.
Several years ago, people did not bother about such thing, as responsiveness. A mobile version was enough. However, now we face the era of different screen resolutions. Back in 2008, there were just a couple major brands. But now more and more are conquering the market, releasing various tablets and cells. It means it is no longer enough for a website to display correctly only on two types of screens.
Why am I saying this?
Because it is crucial now to make a responsive design for a website. In a modern digital world, it is all about user experience. The companies struggle to please their audiences in every possible way. In retail-related businesses, there is a saying: “The customer is king.” Here it can be transformed: “The visitor is king.”
One thing people seem to forget is that visitors define the fate of a website. If they are not satisfied with something about the site, they will leave. It does not matter how frequently you update content if no one reads it. It does not matter how beautiful your website is if no one is looking at it.
You need to consider designing responsive websites. Here’s why:
In business, it is a question of life and death to be ahead of the competitors. Since 2012 and its decline in the share of purchases on desktop computers, the number of people shopping on the Internet grew steadily. Therefore, businesses faced an issue of adapting their websites to screen types of their audiences.
They understood one simple thing. The business should act as its potential audience expects it to. Today, people tend to gather business related information straight away, often on mobile devices. There is even a special term for that – “IWWIWWIWI” (I Want What I Want When I Want It). It illustrates the desire for “the ubiquitous availability of the product”.
Therefore, businesses are forced to provide prompt solutions to the casually increasing demands. It does not even depend on whether you are a store, a web portal, or any other type of business. The website needs to be responsive. Rarely would your potential client wait to use his/her stationary PC.
Just think about it.
Your responsively designed site steps this time forward. Literally. Google prioritizes your page if it is mobile-friendly or responsive. Thus, more people will see your page, access it and your conversion rates will boost considerably.
More quality visits mean more potential revenue for your website!
Responsive design claims to adjust to the various screens to ensure greater usability. Here is the trick. Your creative and technical teams should figure out how to design responsive website so that it really fulfils its purpose.
The content and media have to create a smooth experience for every user. They should be understandable, easy and intuitive. The more the user thinks – the more likely would he/she leave the site. Thus, it is crucial to ensure each layout is usable.
If you have done everything right – there will be benefits for everyone:
We’ve already discussed your potential clients may access your website from various gadgets. Thus, you cannot expect them to have similar customer journeys. It’s pretty basic – they have different user experiences depending on the device. It may alter the path a person follows to the purpose of your site (a purchase, subscription, etc.).
But wait – there’s more:
If you ever mapped your customers’ journeys, you had probably noticed some actions are performed easier, and some harder. But you obviously want to deliver seamless services. Responsive design is one of the ways to improve a customer journey.
How do I know?
Easy. The Internet is flooded with responsive website examples. As well as with the numerous success stories. I guess you already know such famous cases of improved performance and conversion growths as, for example, O’Neill drastic 407% increase.
It all demonstrates just how crucial it is to have a responsive website to provide your users with the best possible services for their specific needs.
To sum it all up, let’s think of the difference between a normal and a responsive website.
Our sales managers often claim people do not fully understand the meaning of the latter. It is quite common for them to explain that a mobile optimized website and a site viewed from a mobile device are two separate things.
Let me explain.
If you can open and look at your site from a cell phone, it does not necessarily mean it is responsive. Your smartphone just tries to cram the huge page into its little screen. A person, thus, needs to zoom in on every function and content element, which is not good. In most cases, it leads to the fact that people can turn to competitors.
You don’t want that, do you?
On the example below, you can see the two variants of the layout. On the left side, there is a non-responsive page (looks as if you click the “request the desktop version” button, right?). On the right side, you can see the optimized version. It is obvious that the structure is not the same, let alone the sizing.
Just look at the two examples. Which one would you favor as a user?
Yes, I agree, I would also favor the second one. It is an issue of user experience. Your customers want your website to load fast (actually, within 4 seconds), to be understandable, and to serve its purpose.
If you fail in one of these points – the damage is done. As they say, time is money. This statement is applicable to the issue of responsiveness. Your potential clients have no time to wait or think when they need something.
When talking about the customer journey, there arises a point of menu navigation. It shapes the way a person behaves using your site. Thus, it needs to be usable. A responsive menu is touch-friendly and does not obstruct your view once tapped. Win-win!
Now, as you know what a responsive design really is, you would not argue its benefits for your business. Summarizing them:
During the past few years, the number of browsing mobile users increased up to 80%, allowing us to assume that soon this amount will be even greater. So why does all that matter for a website owner?
What comes to your mind when you hear "a delightful UX"? For ordinary users, the first association, most likely, will be an eye-pleasing, colorful animation or a good choice of fonts. In other words, a delightful user experience in the minds of people is associated primarily with the surface attributes of the interface. But is that all?