Responsive Website Design (RWD) is all the buzz in web design this year and there is a good reason for it.

What is Responsive Website Design?

RWD adapts the site layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries. Simply put, it’s one website that resizes the site to the screen you’re using.

Why use RWD?

With the increasing trend of Mobile viewing (16% of all views[1]), companies have seen the need to create websites that work easily across all platforms. Let’s explore a few of the reasons to choose a RWD site.

Maintenance

The initial push was to create a redirect when a mobile (smaller display) was detected. However, this created a need to maintain content in two separate locations and also did not always provide the user with all the information on the full “desktop” version. Responsive design has proved a solution to this, with the full content available and only the layout changing on the detected device type. This removes the need for multiple sites such as the once popular m.website.com.

User Experience

A site that has a consistent look and usability across all devices creates a trust between the site and the user. They know that they will always be viewing the same content and not redirected to a different version that may not contain all the content of the full site. (Looking for that small link that says, “go to full site” is annoying). An easy, enjoyable user experience will encourage the user to come back to engage with the site more often.

SEO

With all traffic being driven towards a single site, this helps the overall SEO of your site. It is ideal to channel all present and potential links to a single URL instead of splitting it.

“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”[2]

Is RWD right for you?

  • Is over 20% of your web traffic coming from mobile devices or tablets?
  • Is it important for you to be viewable on all browsers and devices?
  • Are you offering a cutting edge modern website experience?

Then yes, RWD is definitely for you.

  • Everyone else is doing it, maybe you should to.
  • Do you have a clear strategy for a responsive site?
  • Your business is mostly B2B and a high percentage of users are on a desktop.
  • You need a custom mobile site that allows functionality different from your desktop website

Perhaps, put RWD on hold until you have a clear strategy of why you need to have a responsive site.

In Summary

For any website you first must understand what your users want and how they will interact with your website. When this is known, build a strategy from this information and decide if a responsive site is right for you and your visitors.


[1] http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_vs_desktop-ww-monthly-201306-201306-bar

[2] https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/