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Should I Use Responsive Design?

Headshot of the Author Laura Benson

What is Responsive Design?

Before we dive in, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.  Responsive design is a web design and development strategy that implements fluid design elements allowing a site to adapt or respond to varying screen sizes and resolutions.  In simplest terms – it works on mobile phones, it works on tablets, it works on “phablets” (big phones or little tablets), it works on netbooks, it works on laptops, it works on desktops, it can even work on smart televisions.  It eliminates the need for a separate design and unique code for every new device that enters the market (which seemingly happens daily!).
As an example (if you’re viewing on your computer), resize the width of your browser window and notice that no matter how large or small you make it, our site design adapts/responds to that new width and re-renders how the page looks to make sure it always looks great!  If you’re on your iPhone or iPad, you can see firsthand how our site design fits your device quite nicely – that’s responsive design in action!

Why is Responsive Design Better Than a Mobile-Specific Approach?

In the right situation and with the right support staff, a mobile-specific site can be a viable solution.  For most companies, however, you need one site that will work across all devices.  With a mobile-specific site, every change or update that is made to your desktop site also has to be made to your mobile site so you can end up with some redundancy in terms of content and design maintenance.  Many companies don’t have the means, both in time and finances, to manage multiple sites.  Additionally, there are SEO implications, an ever changing mobile device market that requires constant maintenance and monitoring, and many other drawbacks to a mobile-specific approach – we won’t get into all of that because this is about Responsive Design, but if you have any questions, just leave them in the comments below.

Why Should We Build a Responsive Website?

To keep this simple, we’ll let some interesting facts (as of 10/01/13) do the talking…

83% of People Don’t Leave Home without Their Smartphone

We are a society on the go and we consume information on the go.  If your information is not readily available for the on-the-go user, they will find it elsewhere.  They will not wait until they get home.  They want information now.  They want information that is easy to find and interact with.  Responsive design makes your information readily available for the on-the-go consumer.

77% of Users Have Researched a Product on their Smartphone

If you’re selling products online, or if your product is in fact a “service”, chances are that potential clients are researching your product or service on their phone or tablet.  Responsive design ensures that potential clients or customers are able to easily find information about your company, buy your product, or hire you for your services.

94% of Users Have Looked for Local Info on Their Smartphone – 84% Took Action

Because we are an on-the-go, multitasking society, we often generate searches for local brands or service providers while out and about.  Statistics show we often act on those searches.  Responsive design ensures your content is easily consumable for local search results and allows your user to take an immediate, desired action.
Here are some more fun mobile search stats:

This all suggests that our future clients and customers are out there looking for us, either locally or generally, begging us to provide the information they want in an easy to use way.  Responsive design is the best way to give them exactly what they want.

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