What is Responsive Design?

Responsive Design

This is a method of designing and developing websites to be easy-to-use and read across all screen (browser) sizes.

Technically, it means that the HTML of a website stay’s the same but the CSS changes based on the width of the browser using CSS Media Queries.

For an example of how a responsive example of how a responsive site might look, see the photo below or to go The Well Map and resize your browser to the width of a tablet. The Well Map was a Denver website development project Breahna and Karl worked on together.

The Well Map Responsive Website Development & Design

A Denver website. Breahna designed & developed the front-end

Why You Need Responsive Design

Immediately, I can think of four good reasons. However, there’s plenty more pros. If you think of any, please list them in the comments below!

It’s Great for SEO

Instead of maintaining a separate mobile website, your external links are all pointing to the same domain. Internal links are also important and are all pointing to the same places. Note: it’s not about links specifically, it’s about what’s easiest for the user.

(Also, see the “correct indexing for SEO” bullet below.)

Google Recommends Responsive Design

Google’s recommends using responsive design for a few good reasons:

  • Easier for users: Using a single URL for a piece of content makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content, and a single URL for the content helps Google’s algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content.
  • Faster websites: No redirection is needed for users to get to the device-optimized view, which reduces loading time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience (see “Pitfalls when detecting user agents” section for details).
  • Correct Indexing for SEO: For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents needs to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.

Mobile Exceeds Desktop Usage

In January 2014, for the first time ever, mobile usage exceeded desktop usage.  I was already seeing this on many websites before this year, so we can only expect this trend to continue.

Mobile User Experience

With the max of 8 seconds we have to impress user’s on the web, we already know that they’re impatient. Well, they’re not any more patient on a phone or tablet. So, we need to make sure the process is as smooth and easy as possible for them or they’ll go find a website that is more straightforward.

Are there any other mobile or SEO considerations you’d like to know about? Please let me know in the comments!

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