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Why Responsive Web Design Matters

The number of mobile devices used for browsing website content is on the rise in Australia and throughout the world. But has your website been developed with mobile in mind – is it responsive? If not, you could be losing thousands in sales.


Responsive web design has become increasingly important for websites these days. With audiences browsing websites across all matter of screen sizes and shapes, your website needs to be responsive quick, or it will get left in the dust!


What is a ‘Responsive Website’?


Also sometimes referred to as ‘reflexive layout’, a website with responsive design is a site with the ability to adapt its size and formatting to the screen or platform it is being accessed on, regardless of whether it’s a smaller smartphone, a tablet, a phablet, laptop or desktop. This type of website is programmed to detect the device and automatically reformat itself, to optimise the user’s experience with what is most suitable for their screen.


Basically, a responsive website is how your website adjusts to make the experience more user friendly, no matter what device a person views it on.


For example, below is the GDR website displayed on a mobile phone and a PC. You will notice that the different screens display a slightly different version of the website.



With each of these, the adjusted layout caters for the specific device type. There are several reasons why this functionality matters.


What is the significance of responsive web design?


In the recent past, it was less important for businesses to use responsive web design technology, as most people only accessed websites via their home or work computer, using a keyboard and mouse to navigate. This meant that they had wide screens which scrolled in all directions, lots of viewing space, could open several browser tabs, and click icons, buttons and other assets displayed throughout the website very easily.


However, with the introduction of more hand-held devices, this all changed. These devices featured smaller screens, were portable, and activated by touch, meaning that these websites now faced a problem: users were finding navigation almost impossible, not to mention frustrating.


When a person with a mobile phone accessed a website that was set up only for a desktop computer, they would have to pinch the screen to adjust the page size so they could view the text, and menu options were too widely spaced and too small to be clicked on with a finger. This is when responsive web design was introduced: to combat this negative user experience. Suddenly, websites were automatically rearranging and resizing depending on the device it was being viewed on, massively improving accessibility and user experience.


At first, this was a ‘nice to have’, to help the small number of customers who used their phone for browsing. However, today, it’s crucial!


What are the characteristics of responsive web design?


Simply put, ALL websites today need to be usable on a smartphone. Your audience won’t accept anything less.


This includes:

  • Readable text without requiring zoom
  • Adequate spacing for tappable links
  • No horizontal scrolling
  • Management of any ‘slow’ assets, i.e. those things that will cause slow loading time on mobile devices


What has driven the need for responsive websites?


In a nutshell, smartphones and tablet devices! As users transition away from laptop and desktop computer browsing, and move more towards smartphones and tablets, the demand for catered designs, access and responsive layouts has grown exponentially.


Today, the internet and the whole online digital space plays an overwhelming role in commerce, marketing, consumerism and in fact, day-to-day life in general.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported recently that there were around 13.5 million internet subscribers at the beginning of 2017 – a 4.7% increase on the previous year. In addition, Sensis recently found that 87% of Australians access the internet daily with averages showing that each spends 10 hours a day on an internet connected device!


When it comes to mobile device versus desktop internet usage, desktops accounts for 59.56% of usage and mobile, 40.44%. While desktop use is still higher, it’s not by much, and if the exponential growth in the mobile percentage continues to increase (- as it is expected to) – the ratio will reverse, as people start preferring to use their portable devices to view online content.


Why is your website so important?


Responsive website design matters, but more importantly having a website is crucial to the survival of your business. Why? Because your audience is looking for your organisation online! If your business isn’t there, then it may as well not exist; that’s the reality of today’s industry.


The digital world is dominating how people are interacting these days, especially with businesses and companies, as well as their products and services. This means that every business must have a website that provides relevant and interesting content to current, past and potential customers.


Some organisations claim that they don’t have a website, or hardly use it, instead preferring social media. This is not surprising given a recent ABS study showed that 17 million Australians are active Facebook users (out of a total population of 24.4 million). However, while using social media for your business is a valid strategy, it has its limitations. The problem with social media platforms is that it’s their platform, and therefore, their rules. Your posts and content are now typically only shown to around 2% of your followers. If you want to reach more, you need to pay!


When it comes down to it, your website is the only digital asset you truly own, the only one you can fully control and measure, and ultimately utilise to its full capacity. While your social media presence is important, all of it should be directing your audience back to your website, so you can regain control and convert people into leads, customers and finally, advocates.


Why do responsive websites matter?


Hopefully, you now appreciate how much of a vital role your website plays amongst the infinite digital space, and understand why having a customer friendly responsive website is critical to your online success.


All of your business’ campaigns, content and posts should be optimised for mobile feeds and displays in order to reach your target audience – if they’re not, you’re disengaging almost half of your potential customers immediately.


The customer of today is time poor, bombarded with online content and messages and generally has a very short attention span (8 seconds to be exact!). Due to all these factors customers have become harder to reach and engage with, however you have to if you want your business to thrive. Your customer demands personalisation and convenience, otherwise they will jump right off your website in about three seconds (known as a ‘bounce rate’). A successful business must aim to keep this bounce rate as low as possible, and one of the ways they can do this is by having an effective, responsive website.


If you don’t make your content and marketing information easy for people to read, listen to or watch, then you’ve lost that critical engagement opportunity, and (probably) a lost sale. A responsive website means you are providing your audience with a more enjoyable and useful experience, which in turn will increase conversion rates.


Your Customer Expects It from You: Don’t Disappoint.

In the end, Australian businesses must compete, promote, and engage online to grow their customer base and empower their audience to, in turn, grow their own brand. That means having a user-friendly website defined by the demands of their audience, and not the organisation. Hence why responsive web design is the norm now.


Your customer will instinctively look down on your business if your website is not responsive, as they have been conditioned today to expect this.


In fact, your customer will instinctively look down on your business if your website is not responsive, as they have been conditioned today to expect this. So, if you’re not living up to their expectations, then you’ve lost them and, in such an evolving and competitive world that we’re in today, no business can afford this to happen.


How responsiveness affects your SEO


In 2015, Google made a change to their search engine algorithms which now factors in a website’s ability to adapt to mobile platforms as a ranking priority. That means that Google now uses ‘mobile friendliness’ as a ranking signal in search results, and rewards sites that are fully optimised with Responsive design.


Your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will therefore be negatively affected if your website isn’t responsive, and these search engines will drop your website down in search rankings as a result. Because your audience is primarily searching for relevant content via search engines, your website is required to not only appeal to them, but those search engines as well. If you don’t get ranked high enough on a relevant search, people don’t often find your website.


Search engines do this because they aim to provide their users with websites that offer the best experience, and those websites are the ones that cater to whatever medium is being used. And so it should! After all, successful business revolves around your customer, and if your website is not performing the best it possibly can for your audience, then you are doing both them and your business a disservice.


With just Google accounting for around 6 billion searches conducted on the web daily, this reason alone should justify why responsive web design is so important!


What are the benefits of responsive web design?


With a responsive website, all the content and pages are automatically flexible across all screen resolutions and various devices, so the user has an optimal viewing experience and ease of navigation, with a minimum amount of resizing and scrolling.


When your responsive website accommodates all users, people will have a more positive opinion of your website, meaning they will most likely return.


Through ensuring that your website is responsive, you essentially only have one website instead of two, making it more cost effective, as opposed to having a separate mobile site to maintain. Likewise, SEO and online advertising campaigns are much easier to maintain with only one site. If you have a separate mobile site, you then have two campaigns, which doubles the work and can lead to confusion. A responsive website is much easier to manage as it consolidates everything into one.


With the importance of mobile-friendly websites increasing, it should be a high priority to ensure your web design is the best it can be!


How can GDR help?


While the concept of a responsive website is fairly straightforward, we understand that it’s easier said than done. Most businesses like yours know the many advantages that responsive web design brings, but just don’t have the time or know-how to implement the necessary changes to their website.


So let us help! We provide unrivalled bespoke marketing services to Australian SME’s to help them grow, thrive and succeed. In a nutshell, we’re a small business that exists to make other small businesses successful.


We can design a responsive website for your business that will:

  • Increase your ability to reach customers on all devices.
  • Provide a consistent experience that can increase lead generation, sales and conversions.
  • Improve your analytics, tracking and reporting.
  • Decrease time and cost on site content management.


Stay ahead of the competition and let our experts develop a responsive website for your business that helps you dominate your local market.

We’d love to help!

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