Almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet. A lot of people have both, and maybe a computer, too. We like to access the Internet, find answers to our questions, and have the ability to immediately connect.
But, not every website we try to access is easy to use on a smartphone or tablet, is it?
We type in the address, it finally loads, and the text is too small, links are difficult to click, you have to zoom in, and you have to look all over the place to find what you need. It’s a pain.
Of course, it’s even more annoying when you access a site and the mobile version is completely different, links are hidden, you can’t find the content you need, etc.
This is why your customers need responsive websites.
WHAT IS A RESPONSIVE SITE?
A responsive website design is one that moves or zooms content based on the device used to visit it. For instance, someone visiting from a smartphone won’t see the entire site shoved into a 4-5 inch screen. Instead the page is made extra long and is easier to see each bit of the site, you just have to scroll more.
On a responsive website, there are several components to the page. There is the top of the site (header), the navigation, content, sidebars, and the bottom of the site (footer). Depending on the company there may be several content sections.
Each section of the website is the same (includes the same content) no matter what device someone uses to visit, but based on the screen size available components are rearranged, made bigger, consolidated, or pushed further down the page.
This makes for a fluid experience for visitors on all devices. Visitors will always have access to the same content, and be able to perform the same actions.
Take a look:
From these images you can see changes based on the screen used to view it. The top image is from an iPhone 5 and only shows the menu icon, while all other pieces of the site are much closer together, and the text is smaller.
In the next image, we have a 15inch laptop computer with full navigation, and a larger background image. There is a lot of space around the text and between the text and ‘Get Started’ button.
WHY BUILD RESPONSIVE WEBSITES?
With so many people on mobile screens it makes sense that on average 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. With numbers like that, it’s smart for businesses to make their website as mobile friendly as possible.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU AREN’T RESPONSIVE?
When a visitor comes to your site from a mobile device and can’t find what they need, they will leave. Chances are they’ll look at a competitor’s site, or find another way to get the information they need. This is a missed opportunity for yours or your customer’s company.
MOBILEGEDDON BY GOOGLE
In early 2015 Google decided to penalize sites that didn’t follow mobile-ready guidelines (ie: making their sites ease to use for mobile visitors). Companies had months to prepare for this change, that was implemented in April.
For those who didn’t make appropriate changes Google began restricting search traffic to the sites on mobile devices by not listing them in search results. For those who rely on mobile search traffic, especially local businesses, this can be a detrimental issue for their company.
WHAT ARE THE GOOGLE MOBILE REQUIREMENTS?
There are several options for mobile requirements, so Google answered this on their support site.
On the support page they give you links to the mobile-friendly test tool, the search console account where you’ll have a list of mobile usability issues for your site, and the mobile usability report.
Responsive design isn’t necessary, but Google recommends it as the best option, which is why you should use it for your customers. Additionally, you want your site to be as user friendly as possible. Why complicate usage of a site when that will chase visitors away?
Here are other options, for awareness purposes:
- Different content based on device– The content and HTML of the site changes based on what kind of device is accessing the site.
- Different URLs based on device– When a visitor comes to the site from a phone or tablet they get a different site altogether, such as m.site.com instead of site.com.
These aren’t great options since they can be confusing for the visitor. When they come to the site and see different content or cannot locate the content they need, they’ll be frustrated and possibly go back to the search engine.
Since Google likes to keep people happy by helping them find what they need as immediately as possible, it looks bad that visitors aren’t liking what they see on your site, so you may start to lose rankings for search results. This can be avoided by using a responsive design.
PROVING THE NEED FOR RESPONSIVE DESIGN
To explain all of this to your customer, you can use a very simple exercise. Visit a website that has a lot of content on the homepage, and request the desktop version in your phone or tablet browser. Show them how difficult it is to browse the website, choose links to visit, and view products.
Now, use your phone to show them a responsive website, like Fastdezine. Show them the difference between a computer or tablet screen and the phone. They’ll notice how the pages load faster, links are easier to find and click, content is already larger, and the experience is easier on the eyes.
If all of this doesn’t help your customer understand their need for a responsive website, talk to them about Google. Do people who use their site ever come from the search engine (you can look at their analytics to show them)? Do people come to their store and say they found it on Google? Further, explain Google’s requirements with the links above.
Today’s websites need to be responsive. Everyday more technology is coming out that will change the way we use the internet. Today we have phones, tablets, computers, and even televisions that access websites. In the future we may have glasses, virtual reality devices, or another tool. Responsive website content means people will be able to easily bring websites to these displays without needing new code, or design. It’s a safe bet for the future, usability for visitors, and traffic to a site. It’s a win-win-win.