Since the first smartphone was developed, consumers have become increasingly impatient with websites that aren’t mobile friendly. They have high expectations for a great website experience on every device, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

The average website had 20% of its traffic coming from mobile by Q4 2012, according to Bluetrain Mobile and that number is predicted to dramatically increase in the coming year.  As mobile traffic continues to increase, responsive web design is becoming a necessity for marketers to accommodate the multi-screen world we live in.

What exactly is responsive web design?

So how do we solve this multi-screen, multi-resolution problem? The solution is to build a website that works equally well on any device. This is where responsive web design comes in. In simple terms, responsive websites respond to their environment or device. They use “media queries” to figure out the resolution of the device it’s on which it is being displayed. Flexible images, fluid grids and the site menu are adjusted to fit the screen. Let’s show you an example. Take a look at the new TEDxRVA website we recently launched. When you visit the website on your laptop or desktop, you see the full website.

As you being to shrink the browser window, the design changes. Different parts are shifted to make it easier to view on a smaller screen. A responsive web design knows what type of device it is on and adjusts automatically to fit the screen. Pretty amazing right?

If you are looking to redo your website, responsive design is the way to go. According to the Pew Research Center, 60% of tablet users prefer reading news on the mobile web than via an app. Thus, having a user-friendly mobile site should be a top priority in 2013.

Why does your company need a responsive website?

Responsive design ensures that every user, no matter which device they are on, will have a great experience. So what are the benefits of responsive design? According to Mashable, “you build a website once, and it works seamlessly across thousands of different screens.”

Responsive designed websites do come with a higher price tag and companies considering responsive should know that going into it. The nature of responsive design necessitates additionally planning, design, development and testing to ensure that the user experience is consistent on every device. Keep in mind that responsive websites replace the need to build a separate, stand-alone mobile site. The fact is, choosing to go responsive should be viewed as a marketing investment and the mobile website traffic data shows that responsive design is quickly losing its status as a novelty item on the website wish list.

Now, if you already have a mobile website that is separate from your regular website, don’t feel like you need go right now and change all of it to a responsive web design. If you have a mobile site, you are already ahead of the curve. Nearly 75% of mobile users say they’re more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites. The companies that do not have mobile-friendly sites are the ones turning consumers away.

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The main takeaway is that web development is moving away from having a separate mobile site and moving toward having one responsive website, at least for the most common applications. Have you thought about creating a responsive website? We are here to help our clients improve their websites to stay ahead of the competition. Contact us today!

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