Why Responsive Web Design
Is More Important Than You Think
Remember when the mid- to late- 1990s were the wild, wild west of web design? Flashing banners, visitor counters, busy backgrounds and eye-straining color schemes ruled the newly-created information superhighway. Neverending copy was pulled straight out of a brochure and smartphones and tablets were something straight out of the Jetsons.
Even though the internet is a bit more tamed in terms of design standards, some websites are still stuck in the last millennium and don’t take into account the rapidly evolving mobile landscape. According to Smart Insights, mobile use is growing by 58% year-over-year, making it a staple in everyday life that is here to stay.
Taking these new technologies, on-demand connections and new website standards into consideration, we’re offering up some invaluable insights about how web design is evolving and what clients should keep in mind when redesigning their own sites.
According to Econsultancy, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. This can be attributed to a slow load time, long and drawn out forms, a complex purchasing process and, you guessed it, a site that isn’t optimized for mobile.
“Users have higher expectations for their internet experiences,” Jen Tesiero, Paperkite’s art director explains. “Responsive design is a must for websites now, because people look at content from their mobile devices much more than from a stationary computer.”
Websites that demonstrate good user experience are useful, usable, desirable, findable, accessible, and credible. They are both visually appealing and highly-engaging to users.
“I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is your site’s usability.” says Tom Craig, Paperkite’s digital marketing manager. “Making your site feel responsive is all about optimizing its usability. So making sure it’s properly updated, flowing properly to your conversion pages and balancing the information on your site intuitively are all considerations to remember when building a site.”
“Users have higher expectations for their internet experiences”
– Jen Tesiero, Paperkite’s Art Director
Diversity of mobile devices
Our dependence on mobile devices, as a whole, is running rampant and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Smart Insights tells us that mobile digital media time in the U.S. is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%). With that extreme dependence lies a wide variety of both smartphone AND tablets. Every year, technology producers introduce innovative devices with new screen sizes, features and better screen resolution.
“Currently the diversity of devices that people use to access the internet creates many challenges when designing for the web,” Jen explains. “Between different operating systems, devices, versions, and programming languages, we have to be very cognizant of how a design will translate on each device.”
Search engine optimization
The Google page rank algorithm is kind of like the great and powerful Oz. No one really knows what it is or how it works (unless you have the keys to the building at Google). But we do know that Google now gives a higher ranking for sites that are responsive. Google has stated on more than one occasion that mobile is their preferred mobile configuration affecting a site’s ranking factor. They have even gone as far as providing detailed steps to help build a mobile-friendly site which makes it more important than ever that companies have a responsive site.
“You look at the popularity of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, it’s no coincidence that the expansion of visual content has taken place on the web alongside their rise.”
-Tom Craig, Paperkite’s Digital Marketing Manager
So what’s the latest trend in responsive web design that would work well for most clients? Jen says that a trend she’s noticed that videos are being more heavily incorporated.
“It’s a very easy way to get the point across to a viewer in a small amount of time while still being incredibly engaging,” Jen states. “Even videos that don’t contain valuable information but rather help build the brand and evoke a particular emotion with the brand is powerful.”
“People are becoming increasingly visual communicators.” Tom says. “You look at the popularity of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, it’s no coincidence that the expansion of visual content has taken place on the web alongside their rise. It’s easier to get a point across with an image or a video to today’s audience rather than trying to explain it in text.”
Other tips to consider? Clients should keeping things extremely simple, straightforward and clean to ensure your site is easy to navigate. Also, avoid information overload. Users don’t want to (or have the time) to sift through tons of information and complex systems. Get them in and get them out quickly. In the end, they will appreciate that your design takes their time into account.
If your website is stuck in the same era of hypercolor shirts, CK1, and Doc Martens, our team of design and digital experts will work with you to build a stunning, responsive and engaging site that will win over visitors time and time again.