In a constantly changing market, two of your most important goals as a marketer or business owner are:
- to stay on top of your competition, and
- to reach your customers in the most cost-effective ways possible.
The "old" way of doing this (i.e., during the last 5 years) was to have a website, a mobile version of your website, and maybe even a mobile app.
Even now, to create all of these options for your business you would need to dig deep in your pockets. Moreover, they can be overwhelming not only to create but also to manage. Why would you want to put this much stress on yourself, and risk confusing your customers with too many website options, when there is an easier solution?
Responsive design saw a meteoric rise in popularity in 2013. All the major brands and companies have moved or are in the process of moving to responsive design for their websites, which automatically adjust themselves for viewing on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop monitor. Why should you move to a responsive website design? The answer is simple - you want clients to be able to easily access your website and your services, regardless of the devices they're using.
You might then argue that your website is viewable on a mobile device. You may be correct, but is it easy for your clients to use, whether they're viewing it on a tablet, smartphone, or giant desktop monitor? Well, no! Visitors to your site don't want to zoom in and out on their phones to be able to click buttons or read articles, because much of the time they'll hit the wrong button and get aggravated. In today's market, consumers just want something that works and is easy to use.
When planning of the future for your company, wouldn't you rather invest in a single design that can easily be modified to adjust to changing technology and Internet standards? If you pay for an expensive non-responsive website, within a year or two it will be out of date and will need a redesign. With responsive design, you won't have to make these changes, because your website will automatically adjust to new monitor and mobile device sizes as they're developed - it responds to whatever device it's viewed on. Not only will it work on today's technology and older devices, but also on the new devices that have yet to be made.
Responsive design is "mobile-first," meaning as a designer you design the site to work and the smallest possible view and then work your way up to the largest computer or device and make it work there too. But responsive design isn't just about fitting your site on a mobile screen; it's about site functionality that works with a mobile device. That means addresses are clickable and carry you to native GPS apps, phone numbers will dial when clicked, and buttons, menus, and text fields are touch-friendly. Responsive design also uses "media queries" that tell the site what kind of device is being used and the size it should be displayed, so the transition is smooth no matter what device is being used.
Responsive design allows designers to prepare for the future by proactively making your website work for years to come. The benefits are obvious - once you build the site, it will work seamlessly across thousands of different screens and devices. Given the growing number of tablets and smartphones of all shapes and sizes, responsive design is the best way for you to improve your online presence and please your customers.