In the past, serving information online was super easy. You simply needed to create a website, fill it with information, and voila!
Just two decades ago, websites needed to cater to two audiences only: desktop and mobile. And while it may seem like we haven't really moved away from this point all that much, nowadays, there is a plethora of various screen sizes websites need to cater to, that this approach is simply no longer viable.
In the 2020s, trying to cater to each screen size user by creating a website specifically for the size and the model of the device they're using doesn't make sense. Moreover, such a practice would require a lot of time and resources, which is not something many businesses can afford.
So, instead, the focus turned to creating responsive websites audiences can easily access, regardless of the device, browser, platform or screen size they may be using.
Luckily, responsive designs have become the new norm.
With that being said, let's explore some of the essentials of a responsive web design and see some of the best examples in the current online world.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Before we move on to listing various perks and examples of a responsive web design, we first must look at what this type of web design actually is.
As the name itself suggests, a responsive web design is the type of web design where all the aspects of the website look, perform and feel right on any device, platform, or screen size.
So, no matter if you're viewing a responsive website on your desktop, smartphone or even TV, it will perform optimally on all of these devices.
From the technical perspective, a responsive website will feature a set of coded instructions that will help it recognize the type of device (screen size, platform) it is being viewed from and adjust accordingly.
That's why during the last ten years or so, web developers started to gear away from adaptive designs and began focusing more on the responsive ones.
Top professionals dealing in web development from Chicago, for instance, understand the true power of a high-quality responsive design which is why they focus on delivering only the best to their clients.
Major Benefits of Responsive Web Design
Some of the main benefits of choosing a responsive web design include:
- consistent visual experience – particularly important in branding
- better user experience – which heavily affects user satisfaction
- no need for redirects – which lowers (or entirely eliminates) loading speed issues
- lower bounce rates – resulting in more time spent on page
- lower maintenance needs – cutting the time and resources necessary for maintenance
- high web page loading speed – contributing to both user satisfaction and higher rankings
- no extra fees for creating and maintaining different versions – as you'll only have one version of the website
- easy analytics reporting – having everything in a single place makes it easier to observe and analyze
That being said, however, it's important to mention some of the major cons of a responsive web design as well. They include:
- It is not entirely optimized
- It can sometimes slow performance
- It may be affected by web browser incompatibility
- It makes running advertising campaigns somewhat challenging
- It can make it a bit difficult to offer different things to different users depending on the devices they are using
Even though it definitely has some downsides, a responsive web design showcases considerable advantages over other options. That's one of the key reasons it became a standard.
For instance, with LA being one of the biggest business hubs in the world, web developers in Los Angeles heavily focus on providing their clients with top-notch responsive web designs carefully catered to each client's needs.
Why is Responsive Web Design Important?
The rise of mobile devices is one of the main reasons responsive web designs rose in popularity so much. Aside from this fact, there are numerous other reasons every modern business should aim at creating a responsive web design, and they include:
1. Higher Rankings
It's no secret that Google prioritizes websites that perform well across various platforms and devices. That's why any website that features a responsive design, is mobile friendly and fast to load has higher chances to be placed higher on SERP than the ones that don't.
Consistency is the name of the game in the modern business world. So, choosing a web design that will enable you to stay consistent across various platforms and devices is certainly the best route to take. In addition, a consistent user experience will result in better engagement, improved lead generation, boosted conversions and, naturally, more sales.
3. Wider Audience
Websites that can easily be accessible over any device can expect to attract a wider audience. This is due to the fact that, unlike the websites that can't easily be accessed and browsed via smartphones, for instance, the ones that can will be able to reach customers and deliver their message to this audience as well.
4. Easier Brand Recognition
Businesses that have a consistent and uniform web design across various platforms are generally considered more trustworthy by consumers. On top of that, a consistent web design will contribute to easier brand recognition, which is something every business should aim for.
5. Better On-page Time
It's not only important to manage to attract the audience to your website, but it's also key to be able to retain them.
The better the experience your website offers, the more likely your visitors will spend longer on your page. And naturally, the more time they spend on-page, the more probable they are to become customers.
6. Lower Costs
As mentioned earlier, creating a responsive website is more cost-effective. In addition, since you'll only be creating a single website, you will spend the resources necessary for only one website, in both time and money terms.
On top of that, maintenance costs will also be significantly lower, as you'll only need to maintain a single version of a website.
7. Advantage Over Competition
Since responsive web design is a relatively new concept, not all businesses have embraced this approach. But the ones that did will gain a significant advantage over the ones that didn't, due to everything mentioned previously.
Finally, after all that's said and done, let's explore some of the best examples of responsive web designs we can currently see on the market.
With its fluid grid and flexible visuals, Dropbox is a great example of a high-quality responsive web design.
A very interesting and quite unique feature of Dropbox's website is that it changes the font color to complement the background color depending on the type of device you are browsing it from.
Moreover, all of the pictures on the website change their orientation as well, depending on the screen layout of the device the website is being accessed from.
Shopify's website is a great example of a consistent user experience across various devices. Sure, the CTA (call to action) button and illustrations differ slightly between desktop and mobile page views, but the website's overall performance is the same.
Another impressive thing worth mentioning is that Shopify's loading speed is below 5 seconds, which is certainly a plus.
Etsy is a good example of a website that was created mobile-first, desktop second. This interesting approach is also becoming quite common in the development world. And if you really think about it, it's easier to focus on a smaller layout first before you move onto the bigger one.
The design featured on Etsy enables all the visitors – regardless of the device they're using – to quickly and easily find (products) they are looking for thanks to the well-organized "products" category. And, needless to say, for a consumer goods site, this is key.
The main thing Slack is best-known for is the fact that it's super intuitive and easy to use. Needless to say, the website design follows suit.
The CTA buttons are well-placed on both desktop and mobile, enabling visitors to click them easily, without the risk of accidentally triggering the "sign in" button.
On top of that, the flexible grid enables a seamless adaptation to various screen sizes, which makes Slack easy to use no matter the device, platform or screen size.
When accessed from desktop, WillowTree's menu can be viewed in its entirety, while the mobile users will be met with a condensed version of the same menu.
Aside from that, WillowTree features a static navigation bar on the top of the page and a text-based CTA on the mobile version for additional convenience.
No business in this day and age can thrive without a high-quality website. However, not every website design will offer the same advantages, no matter how high-quality it is.
A website that features a responsive design is vastly superior to websites that don't. So, every business should keep this in mind when designing their website.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.