There are many types of screen. Big ones, small ones, portable ones and even wearable ones. Each UK household has, on average, 7.4 internet devices (according to YouGov). That’s more than two each!
Sadly, one website won’t fit all of these devices, so you must have a website with a responsive design that adapts to each size screen and to user expectations.
What is a “responsive design”?
A page has a responsive design if:
“Design and development responds to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.”
This means your site has to adapt to all the different screens that it could be presented on, including:
- Desktop computers
- Visual devices such as the iPod Touch
- Smart watches
And remember, all of these come in different sizes so your site has to be ready for anything.
What are the most popular devices?
Smartphones. People use them for browsing the web, keeping up with social media and even catching Pokémon! Ofcom found that smartphones were the most popular device used for social media, streaming music, watching short video clips, news websites and apps, and browsing online.
The old desktop computer has had its day, and is now only really used for government processes like getting a passport, a driving licence or registering to vote.
As you can see from the graph above, there is a lot of overlap in device usage. Some people will even switch devices mid-session to ensure they have the best browsing experience. For example, if someone is on a site and the page has a video, they will often switch over to a bigger screen (i.e. a laptop or a tablet). A responsive site will be easy to use, readable and engaging for all devices. An unresponsive site will be difficult to navigate and this may put off its users altogether.
No matter what type of content you create, the website itself (and the content layout), must suit all major devices to give your users the best experience.
What does Google have to say about it?
Responsive web design is very important to Google as it believes in delivering the best user experience. It expects there to be a mobile-friendly version of your site, and it will penalise you if you don’t have one.
If your site’s layout and functionality has not been optimised for mobile devices, your site can appear lower down in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
5 quick tips
- Page speed – loading time needs to be fast on mobile devices so minimise code, leverage browser caching and reduce redirects
- Don’t block images – Google wants to see them and will use them to determine if your site is responsive
- Scroll – make sure your design has one continuous thread with no page breaks
- No flash, no pop-ups – they’re annoying and get in the way of your user experience
- Remember fat fingers – touch screens can be tricky, so try to help your users avoid accidental clicks
Follow our advice and start thinking about having a fully responsive website design that will keep all of your users happy – no matter what device they’re using.
If you want to know more about responsive web design, or anything else to do with your website, get in touch with our experts today!