Web design has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the latter part of the 20th century.
It’s no longer enough for a website to simply display information. Messy and over crowded pages went out of fashion with shell suits, and today visitors expect websites to be user-friendly and beautifully designed as well as informative.
One of the key aspects in improving the visitor experience is to create a website responsive to their needs. This allows websites to be accessed easily and quickly and will keep people coming back again and again.
What is responsive website design?
Responsive website design – or RWD – aims to craft websites that have a good viewing and interactive experience on multiple platforms.
The advent of smart phones, tablets and internet enabled mp3 players has meant that visitors are viewing websites from a multitude of devices. Creating different sites for each device would be impractical, and so developers are using responsive design to try and solve the problem.
This means that websites will look the same on various platforms from tablets to phones, minimizing scrolling and panning and simplifying the overall user experience.
Responsively design websites will also have a strong emphasis on usability, reacting to how a visitor moves around a site and accesses information.
Responsively designed websites display properly on various platforms
How does it enhance a visitor experience?
Anyone that had one of the first generation of internet enabled phones will remember the difficulty of using it to access the web.
You would either be diverted to a mobile specific site, with limited information and awkward layouts, or you would have to spend time scrolling around a large web page to try and find what you were looking for.
Responsively designed websites have vastly improved the user experience for most visitors. Now accessing the internet from any device is easy and straightforward, they even cope with devices that can switch between a portrait and landscape layout, in fact it’s easy to forget you’re actually using your phone or mp3 player to surf the web with.
Other aspects of responsive design are harder to notice, as the whole point of a well designed website is that it’s intuitive to use. Most people will only notice a site that is badly designed as it interferes with the user experience, rather than sites that are responsive and natural to navigate.
Why should you implement it in your website?
Unless you’re a developer or a whizz with web code, you’ll probably need to hire a professional to create a responsively designed website for you. This costs money, and many small businesses can be unwilling to spend extra cash when they already have an existing website.
However the advantages of having a responsive website are growing, and among the most persuasive factors is that Google likes RWD websites, so investing in a new site could see your Google rankings improve.
Increasing number of people are using their phones to access the web, so websites need to be designed to with this …
Creating a RWD site will also help to future-proof your website, more and more people are using mobile devices to surf the net, and in the future other technologies will probably be created that will also require responsive sites. So even if you don’t do it now, the chances are that you’ll have to invest in RWD at some point soon.
But most importantly, having a well designed website will improve visitor experience and keep people coming back. This is especially important if your site has lots of competitors as visitors generally choose the site that they find the easiest to use.
Next time you’re surfing the net on your phone or tablet, take the time to think about the usability of the sites and what difference it makes to your experience. Once you’ve notices them, the benefits of a responsively design site are hard to argue with.
Creative Commons image source
Written by Nathan Griffiths who highly recommends using Cre8ive web design.
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