There's more than one way to build a website, so what are the benefits of Responsive Design for your business? It's all about building your site once and building it right, delivering the best possible experience to every visitor.
The best user experience on every device
These days people are just as likely to reach for their smartphone or tablet when searching the internet as they are to use their desktop or notebook, according to Google Insights research. This means your business needs an effective web presence on all devices, or else you risk becoming invisible to a growing slice of potential customers.
The primary goal of Responsive Design is to focus on the end user and deliver the best experience on every device. It offers the best of both worlds -- letting you tailor the user experience for mobile visitors without treating them as second-class citizens and asking them to sacrifice features and usability. Your website can adapt on the fly for all of today's gadgets as well as tomorrow's, offering a level of future-proofing which helps improve your Return on Investment.
Consistency of experience
Google's research also found that, rather than sticking with the one device, many people tend to move between devices during different phases of their interaction with your business. For example they might browse online using their smartphone, but come back later on their desktop or notebook when they're ready to spend their money.
You don't want to lose potential customers at the final hurdle. Offering a consistent user experience and information architecture across all these devices makes it easier for visitors to pick up where they left off when switching between devices, increasing the chances of them becoming paying customers.
Single code base
It seems there's an app for everything these days and it's tempting to follow the pack. But heading down the path of building and maintaining apps for the various mobile platforms is a daunting commitment which still might not help you achieve your goals.
Solely focusing on Apple's standardised iOS platform for iPhones and iPads is no longer an option if you're aiming to reach as many potential customers as possible. Google's Android smartphone platform has surpassed Apple's marketshare, but Android is a fragmented ecosystem which presents many challenges for app developers. Android owners are spoilt for choice when it comes to screen size, resolution, grunt under the bonnet and other features -- which is a boon for end users but a burden for developers.
Throw Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry into the mix and you've now got four separate mobile apps to build and maintain, even if they all serve basically the same purpose. This is where Responsive Design comes to the fore, because your website can be optimised for all devices while relying on a single code base.
Responsive Design also eliminates the need to maintain separate desktop and mobile websites, as your single website can adapt on the fly for any screen size. This way you can focus all your efforts on a single code base, knowing you're offering the best user experience for every visitor.
Single content management
Websites are backed by Content Management Systems which serve up information and images as required. Sticking with a single code base also lets you stick with a single backend Content Management System.
Relying a on single Content Management System, designed to support any device, means you only need to enter content once. The CMS will do the rest, automatically optimising it for every device. The ability to adapt on the fly to best suit a device's capabilities means you're well-placed to support new devices as they hit the shelves without the need to start from scratch each time. This ensures that you're always offering the best user experience on the latest devices.
Best practice for Search Engine Optimisation
Any content you lock away in an app isn't exposed to the web and won't show up in Google search results. Without a strong Google search ranking, you're pretty much invisible in the internet age.
Few people will go to the trouble of downloading an app just to learn the basics of what your business does – those details need to be readily available online. Fragmenting your web presence between desktop and mobile websites can also fragment your all-important Search Engine Optimisation efforts designed to drive potential customers to your website. Responsive Design lets you present a united front.
Responsive Design serves up exactly the same URL to every device, but customises the look and feel of the page to ensure the optimal user experience. Along with letting you focus your SEO efforts, this approach also makes it easier for visitors to bookmark pages and share links on social media without accidentally sending desktop users to the mobile site or vice versa.
Unlike the alternatives, Responsive Design lets you build your website once and built it right, without treating mobile users as second-class citizens. Responsive Design offers the best user experience on every device, and a consistency of experience as users shift from one device to another. Relying on a single code base and a single backend Content Management System, Responsive Design makes it easier to build and manage your website. Meanwhile serving up the same URL to every device helps focus your Search Engine Optimisation efforts.
Responsive Design delivers the best possible user experience to every visitor, regardless of how they visit, to ensure that everyone rides first-class.