Five years ago, you could be safely assume that most of your viewers would visit your website from a laptop or similarly sized desktop. Today you can’t be sure what size screen your site will be viewed on, which is why responsive web design has become essential. A responsive website adapts fluidly to the size of the screen it’s displayed on, whether it’s a 50 inch TV monitor or a 4 inch mobile device. With mobile traffic expected to exceed desktop traffic in the near future, it’s more important than ever to make your site equally usable on smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and desktops. Modern web designers have gone through a paradigm shift. Rather than designing pages for one screen size, they now must tailor one design to many different devices. This new way of thinking has forced contemporary designs to be simpler and more intuitive.
From a development standpoint, the most obvious advantage of having a responsive website is that you won’t need a separate mobile one. A single set of responsive code uses flexible grids, fluid images, and CSS3 Media Queries to adapt to the different dimensions and resolutions of various devices. This saves the time and money it costs for a separate mobile site, and cuts significant hosting and support costs as well. Developing only one website brings SEO advantages as well. A single URL for desktops, mobile users, and search bots makes it easier for Google and other search engine algorithms to identify your site, which increases crawler efficiency. Responsive code also simplifies content updating, allowing one code change to update your site’s mobile and desktop presence simultaneously.
The ultimate goal of any website is to exchange information, and having a responsive website makes it easier for your visitors to find the information they want. Studies have shown that visitors have little patience for the long load times and inferior experience of non-responsive sites. They are much more likely to buy products and services from a website that works on their devices. Responsive web design is no longer just a trend, but an essential part of modern web and mobile technology.