Web design is about so much more than just making a website ‘look nice’. A web designer has to consider how their decisions impact the user experience and whether the design helps or hinders SEO efforts. A good website design company combines the needs of human users and search engine bots, while also capturing and elevating a business’ brand. Not an easy task!
Responsive web design is an easy-go to option that satisfies many of these conditions. Read on to discover the principles behind this design trend and what you should consider if you are looking at upgrading your website.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive web design is built around many standard design principles that aim to provide users with an engaging, tailored experience.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, web designers only had to envisinge what their work would look like on screen — the standard desktop computer. There was no need to consider whether a menu could be easily accessed on a small touch screen, or whether graphics were clear enough to be read on a tablet. Really, web designers had it easy back then!
These days, creating a website involves taking into consideration the vast number of different devices that are available. Responsive web design is built around the principle that a website’s interface and graphics should respond to the screen size, platform, and orientation of the user.
From a technical standpoint, creating a responsive website can be done using code (i.e from scratch) or via a Content Management System. Any of the top CMS options, including WordPress, Drupal, and Kentico, will offer responsive design capabilities. Using a CMS dramatically simplifies the process and is highly recommended.
If you are building a website from scratch (which is not a great idea, even for an experienced developer), creating a responsive design will involve using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in a very specific way when coding for the viewport (visible area on a screen) and media queries (layout of a page).
Benefits of responsive web design
There are many benefits to using a responsive web design. In fact, making your website responsive is almost considered mandatory these days, given the incredible variety of devices that are out there. Failing to build a website that can be accessed by mobile, tablet, and desktop devices means that you will be effectively cancelling out a significant percentage of your potential client-base. After all, no-one is going to stick around too long on a website where they can’t read the content or navigate links.
Other benefits to responsive web design include:
* SEO: In 2019, Google announced that they were introducing mobile-first indexing to their algorithm. What does that mean? Well, recognising that mobile users were beginning to outpace desktop users (as of February 2021, 56 percent of global web traffic came from mobile users), Google made changes to their algorithm to reward websites that are truly optimised for the small screen. ‘Optimised’ in this context means that the content and layout changes to suit the screen size, orientation, and resolution. In other words, the site is responsive. From an SEO perspective, a responsive site is likely to perform far better than one that is not, making it easier for potential customers to find you online.
* Simplified development: Adaptive web design is a common alternative to responsive. Designing an adaptive website involves coding specific viewpoints for each screen size. While in this sense, adaptive web design might give you more control over how your website looks, it also involves a lot more work. Most developers find it easier to both build and maintain a responsive design, as any changes you want to make will only require attending to one source of code.
* Improved consumer trust: When designing a website, the most important thing you can communicate to your customers is trust. A website that is engaging and responsive, tells your customers that you have put time and effort into your online presence. It will make you seem credible and can go a long way to attracting new clients and business.
Your web design options
As mentioned, a website design company will tell you that the easiest way to develop a new website is using a CMS platform. This software makes responsive web design easy and can help build secure, innovative websites in a time and cost-friendly manner.
Building a responsive website requires a combination of tech and design skills, which is why many businesses opt to outsource their development to a professional design company. The answer to the question ‘why you should consider responsive web design’ is the same as ‘why you should work with a professional design company’. Potential clients will be impressed with your digital presence and trust in your products and services. What more could you ask for?