Why a Mobile Responsive Website is Necessary in Today’s Culture
Why Mobile Responsive Design is so Important
On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at the Macworld convention. Six months later, on June 29, 2007, the first iPhone was released, and our world changed forever. In a short amount of time, mobile phones have taken over. There are 2.71 billion smartphone users in the world today and this number is expected to keep growing. These powerful mobile devices have provided users the ability to look up information at any time anywhere. In 2018, 52% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, meaning users are viewing websites more on their phones than on their computers.
Have you ever looked up a website on your computer, then later accessed it from your phone? Have you ever noticed how some websites look different when viewed from varied sources? Today we will discuss the topic of mobile responsive websites.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is a style of web development where a web page resizes both the layout and content depending on the device it is being presented on. For example, if you are on a desktop, try shrinking the page. You’ll notice that the content will shrink to fit the size of the screen, and, at certain points, the text sizes will shrink. With a responsive website, someone can browse your site from any device and it will still look and function flawlessly. Responsive websites are created through CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) that apply different variables depending on the screen size. For example, you could have the font size on desktop be 28px and change it to be only 16px on mobile. Targeting the different screens sizes also allows you to customize the site per device. Sections shown on desktop devices can be hidden on mobile devices and vice versa.
The Benefits of a Mobile Responsive Website
There are numerous benefits to having your website be mobile responsive. Here are just a few of the biggest pros:
1. Guarantees a Great User Experience
The number one benefit of having a mobile responsive website is that it guarantees the user will have a consistent and amazing user experience interacting with your website. The desktop and mobile experiences of visiting a website are vastly different. On desktop you have the luxury of space; you are able to sections areas into columns and show more information at once. Also, people are using a mouse which allows for items to have an interactive hover. On mobile, space is limited; having multiple columns would make the information too small and show too much content at once, overwhelming the user. Additionally, they are using their finger to both scroll through the page and click on interactive items. Therefore, you need to be careful on mobile to make clickable objects apparent (since a hover state cannot indicate this) and large so people are able to easily click on them. With a mobile responsive website, you can make sure these experiences are tailored to the device and ensure that users will have a seamless interaction with your website across devices.
2. Increases visibility on search engines
On March 26th, 2018, Google announced they would be using mobile first indexing. This means that websites are based on their mobile version, not their desktop version. Therefore, if your website is not mobile friendly, you will be ranked lower on the search engine. Why did Google do this? Because we are entering an era where people are accessing content more and more through their phones. 60% of Google searches are done via mobile devices, so it makes sense for Google to encourage people to switch their website to be mobile responsive because they have always aimed to help the largest number of searchers possible. Google even created a Mobile Friendly Test to see how your website ranks.
3. It Helps your Website’s SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is vital for getting new, organic users to your website. When it comes to SEO, what Google says is key. And since they are promoting mobile responsive websites, having your website responsive will help with your SEO ranking. A mobile responsive website also helps to keep bounce rate low. An unresponsive website is one of the biggest drivers of a higher bounce rate. People do not want to interact with something that isn’t easy to use. So if they visit your site on mobile and it isn’t optimized, they will not want to interact with it and will close it, increasing your bounce rate.
4. You Only Have One Website to Maintain
Having your website mobile responsive means you only have one website to maintain, making it more cost-effective than developing two separate website products. Originally, people would have separate sites for desktop and mobile, but, with the introduction of mobile responsiveness, you now only need to pay for one, meaning you can save money on hosting and domains. This also means you don’t have to duplicate content. If you do have separate sites for desktop and mobile, you have to duplicate all of the content from the desktop site onto the mobile site, which ends up hurting your SEO. Having one site allows Google to crawl, index, and organize your content successfully. Finally, having one site allows you to boost your backlinks, a vital SEO strategy.
Marketing in the Modern World
In the modern world, social media has become a key marketing strategy. 3.2 billion people use social media worldwide, and 91% of that is accessed via mobile devices. Companies and influencers are constantly sharing news and article links through their social media platforms. It’s commonplace to search a company on instagram and click the link in their bio to view their website. If someone finds your page on instagram, clicks on your link, and pulls up a site that doesn’t look good and is difficult to use, not only have you lost a potential follower but also a potential customer. Social media isn’t the only change in the marketing industry. Emails are also being viewed more on mobile than on desktop. In fact, 59% of email opens occur on mobile devices. If you have any links in your emails, then your users are more likely to view them on a mobile device than on desktop. So what does that mean? More people are viewing websites through mobile than desktop, making having a mobile responsive website vital to attracting and retaining new customers.
Mobile devices are here to stay. With people relying more on mobile devices to search for information, interact with content, and connect with others, it is vital to ensure that your website is prepared for mobile traffic. You never know how someone is going to stumble across your website, whether it be on a computer, a tablet, or a phone. With a mobile responsive website, you can ensure that you will have the best chance to receive new users and retain them.
Erica Holmsen is the lead UX/UI designer at Lithios. She specializes in developing simple mobile and web experiences that delight. In her free time she dabbles in professional alligator wrestling.