How responsive design can support the multi-device user

Written on 29 February, 2016 by James Baylis
Categories: Web Design & Content | Tags: mobile, responsive design, web design

Rather than being a technically difficult design that only Silicon Valley startups use, responsive websites are a very real necessity in an age where users access sites from multiple devices.

Following Google’s mobile-friendly update in 2015, the term “responsive design” has become part of everyday vocabulary for business owners and marketers alike. The way Australians currently – and will continue to – use the web means the trend of responsive design is only going to grow.

What is responsive design?

Responsive design is a website design that adapts its layout based on the reader’s screen size – that means text changes size to be readable on portable devices, images scale down to an appropriate size to fit across the screen on a tablet or smartphone, and multiple columns on desktop scale down to a single column on mobile.

For users who look at a website using multiple devices, it means the experience is consistent across all of them. For businesses, it means only one website needs to be maintained, unlike before where separate mobile and desktop websites were the norm.

Is responsive design essential?

Recent statistics show that over 68% of Australians use three or more devices to access the internet, and more than 23% use five or more devices. The most common devices used are mobile phones (76%) and laptops (74%). What’s more, two-thirds of Australians access the internet more than three times a day.

These figures have grown in recent years and are only set to rise, making a consistent user experience across devices crucial for any business looking to succeed online.

Making the switch to a responsive website

If your current website isn’t mobile friendly, or if you have a separate mobile website, the switch to responsive can seem daunting. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind if you’re ready to take the plunge.

  • Keep it simple: The beauty of responsive websites is their ability to scale information. The more you try to include on your website, the more complex it is to scale all that information. This is also a great time to audit your website to consider what content is necessary and what can be culled.
  • Choose images that work no matter the size: If you choose a detailed image that needs to be large for impact, it’s better to reconsider – after all, chances are it will almost certainly be viewed on a small screen.
  • Keep the same domain: One of the ranking factors in SEO is the age of your domain, so don’t scrap your URL for a new one. Instead, build your responsive website on the same domain to improve your SEO ranking significantly.

Responsive websites are the future of web design, and essential to help your business perform well online.

Contact WebCentral to learn more about the different website design options to suit your business.