Have you ever visited a website on your smartphone, only to see a tiny version of the same website you would see on your desktop computer? So you pinch and swipe to zoom way in, then move the site around and enlarge and shrink it as needed to read and click on things. That is not responsive web design.
What is responsive web design? Simply put, a responsive website is one that adjusts gracefully to fit on desktop, tablet and smartphone browsers so it will look good no matter how the visitor views it.
Why is responsive web design important for your company website?
According to research from GlobalSpec, 57% of engineers and other technical professionals use a smartphone, such as an iPhone or Android device. These industrial professionals are not always at their desks. They are in the lab, on the factory floor, or at a job site where they need access to the Internet. Or they may use their mobile device to watch an online video or access social media sites in cases where their company networks impose restrictions.
Companies that are marketing in the manufacturing industry and care to reach industrial buyers should consider making changes to their websites so they display well on mobile devices.
How does responsive web design work?
When someone visits a website, the web browser reads the HTML and CSS code to display the images and text in the correct format. But the browser also knows a little bit about itself – whether it is a desktop or a mobile browser.
Web developers take advantage of this, using “media queries” in their website design to detect the resolution of the screen and display the site at the right size. Fluid grids and flexible images allow a responsive design to adjust the website design to fit the screen.
Is responsive web design right for your company?
Consumers are increasingly on the move, and they want to access the Internet wherever and whenever they want. Responsive web design is an easy way for companies to reach consumers on every screen across many mobile devices. Here are some compelling stats:
- Nielsen : 64% of US adults own a smartphone. http://bit.ly/VtEGW6 [tweet it]
- Smartphone sales surpassed PC sales in 2011. http://bit.ly/1pH7T8T [tweet it]
- 13.7% of all web traffic was mobile in 2013. http://bit.ly/1pH7T8T [tweet it]
- Smartphone and tablets have nearly doubled time spent online. http://bit.ly/1o9IncW Comscore [tweet it]
There’s no doubt that consumers expect to find the information they want on their mobile device. But does that necessarily mean you need to immediately redesign your company website to be responsive?
In short, yes – but maybe not right away. Every website redesign project is a complex matter that requires careful planning. Grab a copy of our “Website Redesign 101” eBook to help you get started.
Use your website analytics data to help you decide how urgent a responsive website redesign really is. You can easily monitor your website traffic from mobile devices in Google Analytics. To get a snapshot of your current mobile website traffic; first select the date range you want to view on your Google Analytics dashboard. Then on the left, navigate to Audience – Mobile – Overview. Finally, on the right, click on the Pie Chart icon to display a chart like this:
Be sure to check back from time to time to identify trends. As you begin to see more and more of your website visitors coming from mobile devices, the time is right to redesign your website as a responsive site.
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