“I only browse the Internet on my desktop” went the way of the dial-up connection back in 2014; a report released by ComScore that year revealed that mobile apps accounted for 52 percent of average time spent by users consuming digital media, outdoing the desktop for the very first time.
And you can only expect the trend to get more pronounced as millennials edge out the Gen-Xs and Ys: about a fifth of twenty-somethings now use their smartphones and tablets exclusively to view online content… and the number won’t stop growing.
“That’s not to say the desktop isn’t important anymore…. a multi-platform strategy is critical,” explains Greg Sterling, contributing editor at Search Engine Land, who notes that PCs still remain the default for most e-commerce transactions. “However, many marketers and brands still treat the desktop as the primary area of focus, which is way out of alignment with consumer behavior.”
Optimal Experience on All Devices
Is your site consistent with the presently developing multiplatform state of the art? Do you have a site that responsively displays a mobile-friendly layout when viewed on a smartphone or tablet – following the principle known as responsive web design – or is your web content stuck in the desktop age?
The concept of “responsive web design” is nothing new: it was first elaborated by web designer Ethan Marcotte way back in 2010, who considered the growing diversity of mobile devices and the absurdity of developing specialized web layouts for each of them.
“Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience,” Marcotte wrote. “We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them.”
Mandatory, Not Just Nice to Have
A webpage using responsive web design principles automatically adjusts its layouts based on an individual user’s screen size. Text remains readable without requiring users to zoom in; images and video flow or resize to keep the content intact and readable; and the page width adjusts to eliminate the need for horizontal scrolling.
Web developers no longer need to develop multiple versions of each page, as pages are designed from the ground up to adapt seamlessly to any device that loads it, whether it’s a smartphone or a desktop.
Responsive web design is no longer a nice frill to have, or a passing trend: it’s essential if you want your web content to reach more readers.
Better on Search, Better for the Future
Adapt your web presence to responsive web design principles, and your web content will perform better at the following:
Reaching your users. You no longer have the luxury of pretending that desktop-based assumptions will apply just as well to a mobile-heavy market. Users expect web content to be equally easy to use across a wide range of devices, with mobile inexorably eating up the lion’s share.
When your brand content is equally accessible from any device, you will be better positioned to influence mobile users at the point of decision. A study conducted by Search Engine Land found that mobile traffic benefits local businesses the most – over 78 percent of consumers searching on their mobile devices for local products and services were more likely to conclude with a purchase, compared to desktop users.
Performing on search. Google rewards websites that optimize for mobile, to the detriment of pages that refuse to go with the mobile tide. Major industries took notice: when Google announced the algorithm changes in April 2015, public relations firms moved swiftly, raising compliance rates from 57 percent before the change to 75 percent afterward.
The message is clear: responsive web design has become the de facto standard for online presence, and won’t be going away anytime soon.
Future proofing. Mobile isn’t going away, and it’s even morphing quickly: consumers have moved on to accessing the web not just from mobile devices, but also from smart TVs and even devices connected to “the Internet of Things”. Websites tailored to adapt to future formats will serve your brand better than those that have failed to adapt.
Ready for Today and Tomorrow
Is your website as mobile-ready as your competition’s? If your site looks horribly unusable on your iPhone, then you’ll need a partner to bring your web presence into the present day.
All Covered’s Web Development Services can help you improve your website for use across all platforms. With our team of web development experts on your side, you can implement responsive web design on your content, making it ready for today’s web users and tomorrow’s as well.
For a look at our portfolio of clients’ websites – and for a closer look at our team’s experience, present capabilities and list of services – visit our Web Development Services page.