What is a responsive website and why do you need one?

Oh and did I mention tablets? eMarketer released figures in March that say 32.8 million Brits will be using a tablet at least once a month in 2015, over half of them being Apple iPads.

In simple terms this means that around 60 per cent of all internet searching and viewing is happening on phones and tablets. And in case you hadn’t noticed, despite their ever expanding size, the screen on your zappy HTCSamAppleSony Z123Ultra is not quite the same size as the one on your PC back in the office.

Which is where responsive web design comes in. Essentially a responsive website is a site that alters its shape to fit whatever it is being viewed on. Whilst – and this is important – retaining all its functionality. Do you remember in the distant past, well about three years ago, when you had the choice of viewing the ‘main’ site or the ‘mobile’ version? Well that was a dead end. Users going to the mobile site very quickly became bored with the reduced user experience and functionality that was the hallmark of a mobile site. 

A responsive site is a very different beast. It’s just one site that retains all its functionality and readability whether it’s been viewed on a huge TV or a 4” smartphone screen. The responsiveness is the site’s ability to reformat itself to whatever size and shape screen the users – your customers – are using. The various elements move and resize – like magic, but really it’s code – as the site flexes and changes to give the very best user experience.

Does this matter?

Well yes. Really it does! Remember over 60 per cent (and growing) of internet searches are now happening on phones and tablets. If your site isn’t responsive, i.e. it’s been designed for a lovely 21” desktop screen, then it is very likely difficult to read and frustrating to use on mobile devices.

Which is where human nature comes in. If it’s hard work to navigate your site on their phones, then visitors are very likely to look elsewhere. And that can be lost business. Lots and lots of lost business.

And there’s more.

In the long run having a responsive site is likely to be cost-effective. One site to build, one site to look after and maintain and one site to keep working for you. Not multiple sites designed to work on different devices.

It’s also likely that customers will respond favourably to a good online user experience. It’s a great advert for your company. They search for you on their phones, find your site and instantly it works: it’s readable, they find the product or service they want, they go home happy.

And there’s more. And this is important too! Google, who let’s face it just about run the world these days, doesn’t like old unresponsive sites. They like responsive ones. The announcement a couple of months ago (April 2015) that Google had altered its search engine algorithms to take account of a site’s responsiveness (and other stuff like original content and social media and up-to-dateness) means, in non-techie talk, that sites that are responsive will rate higher in searches than ones that are not. Again, in simple terms, if your competitors’ sites are responsive and yours is not then they will rate higher than you. That simple. 

‘But that’s just Google?’ you may say. Did you buy shares? Me neither. In April of this year Google accounted for over 88 per cent of UK internet searches. I’ll say it again: 88 per cent!

Can I have one please?

Yes, of course you can. It’s actually really easy and any good web design company, ahem… like us at Dimension 6000, can build you one. A new site that is. Adding responsiveness to an old site is hard work, boring, flawed and usually doesn't work. Even if your site is built on a platform that uses themes or templates (like WordPress), making it responsive retroactively is a bit hit and miss.

So we build you a lovely fluid template that allows your site’s various elements to shift around dependent on how the user is viewing the site. We do it cost effectively, no matter how big or small your site is, or how complex it is. Multifaceted site with booking systems and online commerce? Fine. Small site to showcase your thriving small business? Fine. And no matter where and how your potential customer is viewing your site, it will work perfectly and seamlessly and be a real advert for your business, 24 hours a day. Oh, and Google will love it too. Did we mention that?