Whether you manage content strategy, dabble in web design, or coordinate digital marketing efforts, you need to understand what responsive design and content mean for your brand. Learn why responsive content is so important, where it’s headed, and how your brand will miss out if you don’t get on board.
What Is Responsive Design?
Image via Flickr by Luiza Libardi
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If you’ve ever visited a website on a desktop, a tablet, and a mobile device and appreciated its functionality across multiple platforms, you’ve seen responsive design in action. Essentially, this principle refers to a website’s ability to reformat its pages for a range of devices and platforms. A website with responsive design maintains a high level of usability and a similar appearance no matter what type of device you’re using to view it.
Responsive design first emerged online around 2010, mostly due to the growth of mobile technology and the needs of its users. After all, navigating a non-responsive website on a mobile device isn’t easy. Users often have to perform excessive zooming and scrolling to access content, and both links and menus can prove impossible to click on smaller screens.
Since the debut of responsive design, the rise of handheld technology and smart devices has only increased. The number of mobile users on the internet has since surpassed the number of desktop users, which means the demand for responsive design continues to grow.
How Does Responsive Design Differ From Non-Responsive Design?
While responsive design seamlessly transitions from platform to platform, non-responsive design remains static. That means a non-responsive website appears the same no matter which device, platform, or resolution you use to view it. To accomplish this static appearance, designers typically rely on elements such as defined borders, image sizes, text placement, and page margins.
For most companies, ignoring mobile users and designing only for desktop users isn’t an option. Since non-responsive websites don’t translate from desktop to mobile, some companies appeal to users on different devices by investing in separate websites and distinct URLs for the two audiences. Though this may work for some companies, it’s far from ideal for most.
Why Is Responsive Design Important?
As the popularity of mobile technology continues to rise, taking mobile users into account is becoming more and more critical for virtually every industry. For most brands, going responsive is the easiest way to do this.
First and foremost, responsive websites offer superior consistency across platforms as well as the benefit of a single URL for all website users. Since this type of design doesn’t require you to develop multiple sites, you’ll undoubtedly save time, money, and resources when you opt for responsive design. Developing a mobile site also means starting with neutral authority, which means you’ll need to build it from the ground up.
When you opt for responsive design, you’ll improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), an important factor for any brand with an online presence. Since spring 2015, Google has favored websites that are optimized for mobile users, and the tech giant recommends responsive design as the optimal way to attract these users.
With responsive design, you’re also likely to see a lower bounce rate and higher search engine rankings. In contrast, when mobile users struggle to read non-responsive websites or can’t access the content they want on bare-bones mobile websites, your site’s ranking is liable to suffer.
Chances are that you’ve created your website to do more than just offer great content. Instead, your website should be a tool to increase conversions and drive sales. Since responsive design automatically makes content straightforward to read, product pages simple to navigate, and buttons easy to click, this type of website also streamlines mobile conversions.
Why Is Responsive Content Essential?
Much like your brand’s website, it’s also in your best interest to design content with mobile users in mind. After all, if over half of your site visitors are mobile users, your investment in great content won’t seem so smart if the majority of users can’t access it properly.
Responsive design is important for text-based content, but it’s essential for visual and interactive content. Users may be willing to scroll or zoom to read an article in full, but non-responsive design can cut off images or render infographics too small to view.
When you incorporate responsive digital content into your website, you’ll amplify its potential for sharing, generating traffic, and driving sales. As a result, responsive content is likely to deliver the highest possible return on investment (ROI).
How Can You Take the First Step Toward Responsive Design?
Take a closer look at your website’s Google Analytics. Do you tend to get more traffic from mobile users? Has your percentage of mobile visitors increased over the past few months or years? If so, you need responsive design.
Whether you’re creating content or designing a website, put your mobile users first. Start with the simplest and most streamlined design that enables users with even the smallest screens to view your content and interact with your website. You can cater to desktop users and those on devices with larger screens by adding more detail, layered content, improved search functionality, and more elaborate menu options at various breakpoints.
What Is the Future of Responsive Content?
Mobile usage only continues to increase around the globe, which means the need for mobile-friendly design will grow as well. Since both search engines and user experience favor responsive design, the demand for blog posts, long-form articles, infographics, video, and other types of responsive digital content shows no signs of stopping.
Don’t leave your audience behind or risk losing leads. Make the move toward responsive content, and you’ll increase your chances of attracting, engaging, and converting customers on all types of devices.
With virtually all platforms making strides toward prioritizing responsive content, it’s only a matter of time before your non-responsive content loses relevance or takes on a lower search engine ranking. Take the first step toward responsive design, incorporate responsive content into your website, and feel confident that you’re investing in the future of your brand.