Embrace Responsive Web Design (RWD)

There are two critical factors for an outstanding website design that you must consider in 2018. The first is how the site looks — is it easy to navigate and visually appealing? The second is: How does your site display across all digital devices?

Why It's Past Time to Get Responsive

Gartner predicts that more than 50% of all global users of digital devices will gravitate to their smartphone or tablet first before any other device in 2018. Making sure that your website translates well across all digital platforms requires a technique called “responsive design.”
Responsive web design (RWD) is a front end programming function that ensures your website will display properly on any device. This article looks at what responsive design is and why it will be so important in 2018.
Consumers, particularly on mobile devices, now have higher expectations than ever before — they want everything right, and they want everything right away. This requires that marketers answer their needs in the moment, whenever and wherever they are.
- Google Inside AdWords

A little History Lesson: WAP vs. RWD

Just a few years ago, it made sense to put the majority of your design efforts into the desktop site while treating the WAP mobile site as more of a supplementary site. It made sense in 2013 to focus your design efforts on the sites that got the most traffic, i.e., desktop. Abandoning desktop for mobile or vice versa didn't make sense. 

However, the older mobile site were designed for older feature phones which bring just a fraction of the processing power and graphical capabilities of today's phones — they're now capable of handling fully robust web experiences.

So what's a brand to do? If you're running two or more separate sites, you're having to split your design efforts between desktop, tablet, and mobiles sites. That's more development time and more design time. Responsive website design solves this problem and eliminates the need to simultaneously develop multiple versions of the same website.

What’s Responsive about Responsive Design?

In short: responsive design uses customized CSS implementations based on the dimensions of your web browser window dimensions instead of predetermined static sizes. It makes it so you experience the same web content regardless of what device you're using to view.

Responsive web design uses CSS computer scripting to communicate with the device that’s accessing your website. The CSS script optimizes how your website will display across any size screen. Instead of creating multiple website versions for the ever-changing set of devices and screen sizes on the market, RWD is a fluid framework that responds to the individual user by using flexible images and CSS style rules to change the user experience by device and by the size of its screen.

Why does this matter?
We’re probably stating the obvious when we say that if your website doesn’t view well on any digital device, the chances of losing a potential customer are high.

Here are some statistics to back up this presumption:

  • A DoubleClick study from 2016 showed that sites are abandoned if they take just three seconds to load on a smartphone.

  • Curatti says, “A single second delay in your website loading time can result in a 7% loss in conversion, and 40% of web users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.”

  • Sweor reports that 57% of Internet users say they won’t recommend a business if their website views badly on mobile.

  • Sweor also reports that 8 of every 10 customers will drop content quickly if it’s not displaying well.

  • It’s likely that your SEO and Google rankings will be negatively affected without RWD.
Search Engine Land spells it out pretty bluntly: Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern. And we all know, we all need to do what Google wants us to.

Responsive is the New Black

With personalization becoming the norm across every major website, not using responsive website design to maximize how your site views will clearly cost you customers. Losing visitors because your site isn’t displaying well is simply bad for business and in today’s competitive markets, that’s something few of us can afford. But the internet is full of websites that don't function properly and those businesses are simply not keeping up with best practices.

Design Recommendations to Keep in Mind

Designing the site itself is fairly straightforward as you can address errors with RWD display as they arise.

However, when you're working with content like advertisements and third-party widgets you may often find yourself trying to fit round pegs into square holes. The pegs can still fit in many cases with some creative zooming as well as post-loading CSS and JavaScript code adjustments. Third parties often bring content to your site through iframes, which can't be style adjusted because of security issues. In problematic cases like static-sized iframe content, you may have to drop content or build pages that aren't RWD compliant.

Bottom line? Your website needs to be responsive.

Need Help Hiring for a Responsive Switch?

If you’re worried that your website isn’t being responsive on all digital devices, contact Artisan Talent. Or, if you don't already have someone on your team that is well versed in responsive web design, contact us today to find the perfect well-versed designer. We have dozens of Web Designers, Front End Developers, and UI Developers standing by to help maximize your digital strategies.
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