Who could have predicted that smartphones would take over the world, reducing barriers to global sales? That’s the situation now and it’s this rise of small devices, like tablets and smartphones, that have made responsive web design a must-have-criteria, not an optional feature. Even Google is demanding that all websites include responsive web design or face the prospects of being downgraded. In a world that is no longer about the desktop computer, it’s imperative that your website be easy to navigate, search, and look good on small devices.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Aside from functionality on smartphones, the elements of responsive web design are as follows:
Scalability – Responsive web designs scale the layout of the website for any size screen. Whether someone views the content on a desktop or a tablet, the website will look very similar and be as functional on either platform. Fonts don’t become unreadable and columns don’t scroll off the screen. Scalable vector graphics ensure images look right on all screens.
Minimal Design – Screen real estate is at a premium, so that the designs tend to be minimal. There are no borders or containing elements to surround different areas on the page. Sometimes, the entire design is based on a single image that can be a video or a picture with hidden menus, recognizable via a tiny icon on the screen. They only expand when selected. Grid layouts that look like postcards or a single long-scrolling page are also a feature of these types of design.
Focus on User Interaction – There is more interest on how the user interacts with the site, from what emotional impact a page has to what actions a person takes upon being on that page. There is more call to actions to guide the users in their response. There might be a storytelling approach to try to bring in the reader and make the site more personal.
Attention to Lettering – While video and images are incredibly important in responsive web design, the fonts also deserve a unique treatment. By creating fonts that appeal to the sales demographic that are still readable in smaller formats, the designer can strengthen a brand and make the pages appealing textually as well as graphically.
Why Responsive Web Design is So Important
The importance of a responsive web design can’t be understated. Since Google is upgrading sites that meet the standards of a good responsive website design, those sites that do not comply will see their traffic numbers dwindle. They won’t be listed in the Search Engine Page Results (SERPs), as they had in the past, even if their content is highly targeted and optimized for search. The problem is that Google will simply not acknowledge the site because it isn’t a responsive web design. Thus, the choice to redesign or not is not really a choice, but a survival necessity for those doing commerce on the Internet.
The Future Belongs to Mobile Devices
While, at first, it may seem like an unreasonable demand by Google, the fact is that they merely recognize the importance of mobile devices and the demise of the desktop. The worldwide reach of tablets and smartphones has changed the way business is conducted on the Internet forever. Thus, it’s only fair to demand that the businesses serving those customers, who are also Google’s customers, fall in line with the pace of technology so that the searches can continue to be relevant for their demographic. In the end, by implementing a responsive website design, businesses can expand their customer base and reach individuals no matter where they are any time of day or night. That, in itself, is the perfect reason to upgrade a site today.