Today’s consumers want to easily access information at any moment wherever they are, and whatever device is in their hands. From researching reviews about a product on their mobile device while inside a store, to shopping on their tablets on the couch at home, consumers want to navigate a brand’s website intuitively—regardless of how small or big the screen is.
Because of the variety of devices in which the customer is accessing a website—mobile being the fastest growing channel—the importance of responsive web design cannot be overstated. Forbes magazine 2013 urged that responsive web design should be a top priority to any company that is selling products online in 2014—or risk going out of business. If you’re not online by now, you’re pretty much late to the party.
What is responsive web design and why should you care? Here we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about responsive web design, how it affects your bottom line and why an expert can help you avoid common pitfalls.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive web design adjusts to fit into any size screen that it is displayed on: desktop, tablet and mobile device.
Standard websites are the least expensive option, but are only designed for viewing on a desktop computer. This means that when you access the site from a mobile device, it scales to fit inside the phone screen. Have you ever gone to a website from your mobile device and the menu bar is so tiny you can’t read the letters? You have to zoom in to find what you are looking for and because the text is so small, it take a few tries to get you where you want to go. Those websites are not responsive.
In a responsive website, the layout responds to all screens and resolutions. Because the site is designed from the beginning to perform on different devices, the site is easy to navigate and read. Buttons are displayed in a large size so that fingertips can’t miss the mark. The navigation is sized and focused to funnel the consumer in the right direction.
This article by Fast Company, “9 gifs that explain responsive design brilliantly” has an excellent visual comparison of responsive and non-responsive websites.
How does responsive web design affect the perception of your brand?
In many cases, a website is a consumer’s first impression of your brand. You might not get the chance to show off your company’s personality and the product’s features if the consumer can’t read the too-tiny text size, or if it takes several steps to view important product photos. With responsive web design, you have the most control to guide users through your brand experience once they enter the homepage.
Why is responsive web design important?
The user experience is everything. In June 2014, Adweek published that “mobile is on track to account for 26 percent of U.S. retail e-commerce sales by 2017, and 44 percent of all online shoppers begin the buying process by using a search engine.” If the consumer is unable to easily find the information that they are looking for on your website via their mobile device, you risk losing them as a potential customer.
In addition to the layout and presentation of your brand looking its best, the investment into a mobile responsive web design makes managing your website on the backend less of a headache. The alternative to a non-responsive website is one that is not easily viewed on mobile at all, or hosting a separate mobile site with a separate layout and navigation designed solely for mobile, which is twice the work and splits your SEO optimization between two site URLs.
Mobile responsive design also decreases the need for major upgrades in the future. Fast-advancing technology means that the screen sizes for handheld devices are changing constantly. A responsive website is not a victim to constant layout updates every time there is a new screen size introduced, because it intelligently works for any size screen.
How do I change my site to a mobile responsive design?
Branded Online has a proven track record of getting manufacturers up to speed in the mobile responsive web design era. Get in touch with a Branded Online representative to find out how our professional knowledge and expertise can offer a seamless brand experience and online retail shopping ease.