Did you know that since 2016 nearly 60 percent of searches are mobile device-based? This rate is still growing as time goes on. In 2021 3.8 billion people used smartphones. According to these high numbers, these days a desktop-only approach will not show a return.
The best is to make your website mobile-friendly. Whether the users are visiting your website from a desktop or mobile device, a responsive page gives each of them a perfect experience. It is also a choice to develop a mobile application, but it is a harder job to do. Firstly, let’s discuss the details of responsive websites.
What is a responsive web design?
With a responsive design, any single website will match any screen size. Building and maintaining two different versions of your site is not necessary anymore. You can do all two at once with only one responsive website. It is easy to use on mobile devices and at the same time on tablets and desktops.
Whatever the screen size of the target device, it enables the web page to change its height and width. The fluid layout and fluid grid make the website show correctly on any screen since it changes to adjust to the screen size for better viewability. This way, the user can avoid scrolling horizontally to reveal hidden content, when using a small-screen device.
Responsive web design is a little bit different from adaptive web design. The content on responsive websites is displayed matching the free spaces in the browser. On an adaptive one, exact layout sizes change themselves according to the actual screen size.
Developing a website that is mobile-friendly and computer-friendly at the same time is not that simple. That is why some companies decide to maintain two websites, so-called dual-version websites: a primary one and a mobile version. But it almost doubles the time spent on website development and it can easily confuse the users.
Why does Google support responsive web design?
For mobile-friendly designs, Google prefers the responsive web design over the dual-version websites. Let me explain the reasons for that. As mentioned above, responsive design instantaneously makes your website adapt to mobile devices. The Mobile-First Indexing by Google has been continuously getting more popular in the past few years. Actually, by now it has become the standard. It means that Google only browses the content of the mobile version of the website.
Furthermore, just that type of content gets visible in organic search results. In this case, indexing, crawling, and organizing content seems to be easier for Google. It is simple: a more responsive website is more likely to earn a better place in Google’s organic ranking. In March 2021, Google prioritized mobile-first indexing across all search sites in Search.
Make sure that page load times on mobile devices are not longer than those on desktop devices. Keep an eye on pages that contain images and videos, since they can slightly slower the action. According to many page-loading studies by Google, delays can impact the satisfaction of users and can make them leave and never return. It’s a trend for both familiar and unfamiliar pages.
How to create a responsive web design?
To make your site responsive, it is indispensable to create a design that corresponds with browsing from PC and mobile devices as well. While working on the design, please be reminded that a mobile phone can provide only a limited user experience due to the screen size.
It is suggested to lower the number of ads, social media inputs, etc. on this platform. Take care of generating fluid character and image sizes to make them fit the screen of the chosen device. Guarantee the same content quality for each client.
Do not forget to set the appropriate responsive breakpoints or eventually called CSS breakpoints. On a website, a breakpoint is a point where the content and design adapt somehow to provide the best possible user experience. The software should make it flawless on each screen size, without distorting, cutting out, or obscuring the content. Images should be scaled nicely to fit any browser size.
While setting the image width, take care that image sizes can be larger than the original if the screen size requires that. Instead of setting the width property to 100%, use max-width in CSS, since this way image sizes will only scale down when they have to, but never scale up. It is also a good idea to define different images depending on browser width.
Not only image sizes, but text sizes should also fit the browser window. It is also common to use media queries on responsive web pages. This means that you can define completely different styles for different browser sizes.
Instead of the previously used pixel measurements, websites are now built on a fluid grid. A fluid grid positions and defines web elements on a site according to the size of the screen on which it is displayed. Instead of doing things in a single set of specific size pixels, the elements of a fluid grid will react and resize to fit the size of the screen. A fluid grid is divided into columns, where heights and widths are scaled and do not have fixed dimensions. Texts and elements are allocated uniquely, based on the screen size. All in all, it keeps a site visually compatible across multiple devices and offers closer control over design-related arrangements.
It is really important to consider touchscreens, too. In 2022 6.64 billion people use smartphones, which are mainly equipped with touchscreens, and tablets are also catching up. It is also becoming more and more common that laptops come with touchscreen functions, too. To provide the best user experience also for touchscreen users, make each menu item large enough. It can be detected easily and pressed with a fingertip. Instead of texts or small buttons, try to use images as a call to action. Optimize all the elements to adjust to more screen types.
If you’re a beginner in website development, don’t worry: there are many pre-designed themes and layouts for building a responsive website. This way you can save time and also avoid common mistakes.
Why is it important to use responsive web design?
Mobile search is the practice of querying a search engine from an internet-connected handheld device, such as a smartphone or a tablet. These are typically different from computer-based searches. Users are most expected to conduct local searches, such as opening hours, directions, entrance fees, and things like that. Mobile searches lead to quick results, like sports scores or the actual weather, rather than content about a complex subject.
It is also a common activity that people search for certain places when they are right there. What is more, they would like to get more information online about products that they are already holding in their hands. That is why mobile searches can influence in-store sales.
According to a 2018 survey, people use their smartphones while in-store shopping for research and compare prices. In the main part, more than one-third of the respondents started a mobile search for comparing prices. This means that customers are likely to change their minds if they see the same product online for a more affordable price. What can you do about it? Ease their situation by making your website responsive, so browsing will be more comfortable for them while being in a hurry in the stores.
All in all, using a responsive design for your website will lead to a better user experience, which can highly affect the success of your business.