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what does it mean for a website to be responsive

What Does It Mean for a Website to Be Responsive?

Every business nowadays has a website, and modern organizations need to stay on top of website trends so they can stand out from the pack. One of the most important modern web trends is responsive design. Responsive design makes surfing your site easy on multiple types of devices, ultimately increasing your digital reach and audience. Read on as the team from Peppermonkey Media answers the question, “What does it mean for a website to be responsive?”

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Responsive Website Design: The Basics

Responsive web design (RWD) involves designing a webpage so that it renders correctly on multiple different devices. Responsive design changes the visual layout of the website to fit the screen you are using, which includes moving layouts, changing font sizes, etc. 

The point of responsive design is so that visitors can use it properly whether they are accessing it with their computer, smartphone, tablet, or other device. In that sense, responsive design makes your brand more accessible by giving several ways to interact with your online presence.  

Responsive web design is necessary because a single website layout won’t work on all devices. For example, on a mobile device, you have less screen space, lower resolutions than desktops, and lack a mouse for site navigation. Responsive web design makes your web page layout clear and navigable no matter what devices the visitor is using. 

How Does Responsive Design Work?

Responsive design works by assigning page elements to a flexible grid. With a normal layout, website elements are scaled to particular dimensions that remain the same regardless of the device. Responsive web pages instead scale website elements to the particular viewing device through clever use of style sheets and media inquiries and modifying the website’s viewport meta tag.  

Responsive web pages use flexible grids and layouts that automatically change their size and layout to fit the device. One major difference with responsive web design is images do not have a set size and instead resize themselves based on the current display.

Responsive design is not a specific technology but an approach to building websites that work with most common programming languages. You can apply responsive design principles to both websites and apps to create a fluid and engaging user experience. 

Why Responsive Design Matters

Responsive design is probably the single most important design trend for modern websites. According to Statista, nearly two-thirds of global web traffic is through mobile devices, meaning that a significant portion of your customer base will be visiting your website on devices other than a traditional computer. Below are some reasons why responsive web design is so important. 

User-Friendly Experience

Above all, responsive web design helps create a more fluid user experience on your website. If you have ever used a poorly optimized site, you know how frustrating it can be when website elements don’t fit your screen properly. Responsive design scales elements to the screen size so text is readable and images can be resized for maximum viewability. Also, a visitor can switch devices and still have the same user experience. 

Easy Site Modification

Responsive web design also makes it easier to update and modify web content. You don’t have to worry about scaling page elements individually as the website will do it automatically for you. Additionally, maintaining a single responsive web page saves time and money as you don’t have to create different websites for desktop, mobile, tablet, etc. 

Improved Loading Times

Responsive web design also provides faster loading times. Responsive design uses less code than traditional websites, so it takes less time to load the layout and images. This is especially important because fast load times can significantly increase. One survey found that a website that loads in one second sees about five times more conversions than one that loads in ten seconds

Better Search Results

Although only Google knows exactly how their search engine works, several Google engineers have said that the engine takes into account responsive web page design when displaying results. As such, a good responsive design can make your site pop up higher in search results, granting your brand more digital visibility and site traffic.

Easy Analytics 

Responsive website design also lends itself to better site analytics. Mobile-friendly responsive designs allow you to see which version of your website (e.g., desktop, mobile, etc) gets the most traffic and which elements increase traffic the most. You can use these website statistics to fine-tune your website layout to further increase visitor and conversion rates. 

Responsive VS Adaptive Design

Many use the terms “responsive design” and “adaptive design” interchangeably, but they are, strictly speaking, different things. Adaptive web design is similar to responsive web design in that they both modify page elements and layouts based on the dimensions of the viewing device. 

The main difference between the two is that adaptive design loads a separate page design for each type of mobile device. Responsive web design, in contrast, dynamically changes the page layout and style to fit the particular device’s dimensions. 

That might not seem like a big difference, but it matters. With adaptive design, you usually have to create at least six versions of your page—one for each of the most common viewing device dimensions. With responsive design, you only need a single page layout that dynamically modifies itself depending on user needs. 

Both design methods have their pros and cons, but responsive design is superior as it creates less work for web designers since they only have to keep track of a single site layout that can change when needed. 

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Read our blog to learn more about the basic elements of web design and how they can improve site visitor experience. If you have any other questions, such as, “What does it mean for a website to be responsive?” contact Peppermonkey Media online or call today at (732) 576-0171 to schedule a free digital strategy session!

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