Responsive, it’s good for business and healthy for your online brand.
If your organisation isn’t taking advantage of responsive web design right now or planning on it in the very near future, you are in danger of missing more and more relevant traffic to your website as well as providing a weaker brand experience to the majority of users.
Three understandable exceptions to the rule; 1) you really don’t depend on your website to stay in business so you don’t give a s***, 2) you have no competitors, you’re the King and you have gone medieval on your competition “off with their heads!”, Or 3) you are familiar with responsive design, you’ve already verified it’s not the best fit for you, as Linkedin has, and you have an alternative mobile strategy (an App). If any of these three apply to you, then you’re ok, carry on with a merry whistle and skip smugly into the distance.
If the term “responsive web design” or RWD is new to you, don’t feel bad and having the need to flagellate, I promise you’re with the majority. In about 20 seconds you’ll know what it is and be able to look smart by talking about responsive design at dinner parties between, puffs of cigars and glugs of fine port.
Responsive web design is only this, a website design that intelligently shifts beautifully to fit on a desktop, tablet, and smartphone browsers. It also means that you only need to have one website developed for use on different Internet enabled devices, which is nice for the user.
Ever pulled up a website on your smartphone and it was just a very tiny surreal version of what you would see on your desktop (like ‘Shrinky Dinks’ do you remember setting fire to your mother’s oven with those?), so you zoomed way in, and then moved the website around and enlarged and shrunk it as needed to read text and click on things? If you have fingers like me i.e., big pink fat sausages it’s just no fun. That was not a responsive website. Or if it was, it left out the key point of adjusting “gracefully.”
It’s more than pressing a responsive preference button, there is a rethink on build and interaction required, so thorough testing and tweaking to make it work super slick, not like a blue-oil-smoking Lada, a cylinder down with a thrown rod kangarooing down the road.
So why does it matter then?
Because it’s better that why, and everyone else is doing it (your competition). Without a mobile-friendly website your brand future online is no so rosy. If you’re not providing a mobile-friendly brand experience for your customers, they’ll (those, shallow, fickle b*****s) will bounce off your website and go to your competitor whose website is easier to use.
The future is now and it’s vectoring real hard toward mobile, as we see people favoring their mobile devices over desktop computers. Have at look at your own Google analytics, see for yourself. Google is always beta testing new stuff, at the time of writing this is how you get there on their current interface, assuming you have Google analytics built into your website?
12 months for your date range, and then on the left navigating to Audience > Mobile > Overview in Google Analytics. On the lower right, you’ll should see a small pie chart button. Give it a press or click.
What this chart does not show us is the trend. This second set of pie charts shows us the direction in which things are headed. To get this chart, I went to the date range in Google Analytics and checked the “Compare to:” box and selected “Previous period.” Now we are seeing a comparison between mobile vs. desktop visitors for the past 12 months and the 12 months preceding those. I am pretty certainly you will be seeing a significant increase in mobile users. That by itself should be a compelling enough reason to invest in building a responsive website.
Here are some sketches of how the same content rearranges on different devices.
SEO, rankings and Google Panda, Penguin and other animals?
SEO has become more necessary than ever before. It’s tough enough to manage the SEO campaign for one website, you would not want to take on extra pressure by creating a separate mobile website, and implementing two SEO campaigns? With a responsive website design, you only have to pour your energies into one SEO campaign and ensure its efficiency. Moreover, Google recently recommended the use of responsive website design to improve SEO. Also, because you have made an effort to improve you mobile user experience, Google should reward you with some higher rankings.
Creating an online RWD user experience that is aligned with your business goals, as well as your audience’s needs, will reinforce the perception your customers have of your brand. Although your website plays a key part in this, it’s important to recognise that your business consists of a complex network of customer brand interactions. A strong, consistent brand experience across all your customer touch-points will, therefore, help maximise the impact of your branding and RWD supports this.