As developers design a website, the importance for implementing responsive design elements is a critical factor in driving traffic and creating a positive user experience.
In 2014 the number of mobile users surpassed desktop users, causing developers to reevaluate previous web design practices by building minimal website designs to become optimized on mobile screens.
According to Google “94 percent of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77 percent of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present,” marking the importance of designing a website with responsive design in mind.
Responsive design is an approach that allows a website to respond to a user’s behavior and takes factors like orientation, platform and screen size into consideration when displaying a website.
This allows users to visit a webpage on their device without adjusting the size or compromising their viewing experience in efforts to make the website fit on their screen. Responsive design is performed through the mixing of specific CSS Queries and flexible grid layouts to adjust columns and resize images specifically to the user’s viewing device.
While this might have been a luxury in the past, responsive design is beginning to transform the web design industry by replacing a “one size fits all” mentality. This is especially important as there are hundreds of different devices and browsers that have their own preset resolutions and pixel ranges.
Rather than designing a website to fit perfectly on a few devices, which would be costly in the long run, it’s more cost efficient to use responsive design so that a website automatically adjusts itself for the best viewing experience on hundreds of different platforms and devices.
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Because responsive design affects a user’s experience on a website, Google has included mobile-friendliness in their search algorithm when determining where a site ranks in the Google index. The Google Search Console allows developers and owners the ability to test their websites and see if it offers a mobile-friendly experience or not.
Depending on how your website was built, responsive design may be very simple or difficult to incorporate if it wasn’t initially designed to be. For sites that were founded on software like WordPress there are several themes and plugins that will automatically convert your website based on the user’s device.
If a website wasn’t built with software it may be necessary to call a developer to implement those changes if you aren’t familiar with the coding language. Most WordPress themes implement responsive design so coding isn't necessary if you're using this content management system for your website.
It might seem like a hassle, but if you aren’t providing the best viewing experience you’re hurting traffic and conversions while alienating more than half of your potential viewers. Based on future trends and how simple it is to utilize responsive design, there’s no reason that your website shouldn’t be mobile-friendly for users browsing the internet.