What is Responsive Web Design and Why Does it Matter?

Published Sep 12, 2016. Updated Jun 14, 2019.

What is Responsive Web Design and Why Does it Matter?

When it’s time to work with a web design company to update your website, one term you will often hear is ‘responsive design.’ Trajectory Web Design’s customers have certainly heard the term before, as every website we build is fully responsive. But, what is responsive design, and is it really important for everyone to have it?

Responsive Web Design: Aesthetically appealing and functional on all devices

A responsive website is optimized to look, feel, and function equally great on all devices. A fully responsive web design will display well on traditional screens (think laptops and desktops), tablets, smartphones, and even watches, regardless of brand or provider.

Thus, when someone visits a responsive website, it will look beautiful and retain key functionality regardless of whether it’s accessed via a home computer or a mobile device. And when done correctly, responsive web design means your website will load lightning-fast.

Since designing a website flexible enough to perform well on every occasion takes good coding technique, websites aren’t automatically responsive. Developers must spend extra time and effort ensuring smooth transitions between devices. If you want your website to be responsive, you’ll need to hire a top Atlanta web design company like Trajectory.

Responsive design improves your search ranking – and revenue

Since responsive design is primarily aesthetic, it’s tempting to think of it as an add-on to include only if you have the budget. In today’s market, however, responsive design is more than cosmetic: it has become an essential feature of a good website.

Responsive design is so important that Google prioritizes responsive sites over nonresponsive sites. In other words, your search ranking will be penalized if smartphone users can’t view it easily. A competitor in your market niche who does have responsive design will be given search result priority.

Google didn’t make that call to be punitive – the policy is based on hard data. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of American adults own a smartphone, often in addition to other devices. That’s a considerable population which will, of course, want content to be displayed well on those phones.

In fact, there is also research demonstrating the number of consumers who react negatively to non-responsive websites. The Adobe Get Personal Study, for example, revealed that two thirds of multiple-device users are frustrated when content is not displayed equally well across all devices. As you might guess, frustration doesn’t frequently lead to repeat traffic or purchases.

iAquire discovered that if a website found through Google search isn’t responsive, 40% of consumers on mobile devices will return to the original search and select a different result. Considering that 70% of mobile searches result in some form of action – making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, sharing a blog article, etc. – within the first hour, losing 40% of mobile web traffic can be a significant drain on site revenue. You only have one shot to appeal to mobile customers, and without responsive design, that appeal is likely to fail.

On the other hand, plenty of companies report increased conversions and revenue. Offspring, for example, reported an over-100% increase in mobile revenue after incorporating responsive design.

So, to answer the question posed in our post’s title – responsive design really is necessary. Consumers are more likely to find your site, more likely to stay, and more likely to interact with your site in the desired manner.

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