11 Benefits of Responsive Website Design

If you’re looking to build a website these days, whether you’re building an eCommerce site, brochure-style site or CMS powered portal, chances are the developer or agency you hire will want to implement what’s called a “Responsive Website Design”.

The reason this technique is so popular, is because there are so many benefits not only for the customer, but developers too.

But what are the benefits of responsive website design and how do you know they’re really what you’re looking to implement on your website? After all, you’re most likely not a website designer?

To help out, we’ve provided a list of the top 11 benefits of responsive website design. Our detailed, yet intuitive list will assist you to understand why this type of website development is such a good option for you, and why you don’t want to miss out!

#1. Responsive websites display perfectly on all devices

Chrome responsive website design using InpectorThe number #1 benefit of responsive website design is that your site will display perfectly on mobile, tablet and desktop devices. The major benefit of this is obviously that you only need to build one site for this to happen, meaning you’re going to save time and money.

In the past there was a trend to offer a mobile only site and a desktop site, this trend is all-but dead, meaning it’s faster and easier for developers to deliver a high quality product for their customers.

If you’re looking to test out a few of your favourite sites to see if they’ve been implemented using a responsive design, there are a couple of ways you can do this.

You can either drag the right corner of your browser in to become smaller and see if the site you are on resizes or hides/shows elements of the on-screen content; or if you’re a little more technical you can test out how the site displays using your browser inspector.

If you’re shooting for the latter, right click your page and choose Inspect (in Google Chrome) and toggle the Device Toolbar in the upper left of the inspect window. From here you’ll be able to test your chosen web page across an array of common devices and screen sizes.

As shown in the image to the left, we’ve loaded up the home page of Macrumors.com (a favourite site of many of the OSE team) and can see that their site provides a different view on mobile devices to that of desktop devices, meaning this site is using responsive website design techniques.

#2. Responsive website design is cost-effective

By now you’ve probably figured out that building one site as oppose to multiple sites is going to be much more cost effective. But it’s not just the initial build that makes responsive website deign so cost-effective, it’s the ongoing maintenance where you can really save big dollars!

Because your site will be setup to handle different views (i.e. Mobile, Tablet, Desktop), you’re only going to need to maintain one code base.

Now some of you may be thinking; does the initial setup take longer to put in place? The short answer is no. Any professional web design team who understand the underlying principles of responsive web design should be able to do this in their sleep, meaning you’re going to be implementing a solution for all devices that’s a winner on all fronts for your organisation.

#3. A cross-device mentality

With the introduction of responsive website design, gone are the days of building for particular browsers or devices. Today, we live in age where it doesn’t matter if your go-to device is tablet, PC or smart phone, responsive website design is literally the silver bullet that allows for a strong user experience across all these devices.

Because mobile-access to the web has now overtaken that of desktop access, never was it more important to ensure that your web pages display in an easy to use and attractive format on all devices; which is a large part why responsive website design was invented in the first place.

Because a large portion (if not the majority) of your visitors will be accessing your site via their smartphone, it’s a wise idea to take advantage of the benefits of responsive website design to support this user group.

#4. Google loves (requires) responsive website design

If you’ve been around search marketing before, you’ve probably heard that Google has a very stringent set of requirements around which pages it chooses to rank highly in it’s algorithm.

With this in mind, it’s important to note that mobile optimised content is a must.

In nutshell, if your site does not provide a positive mobile user experience, Google will not rank you. After all...it is 2017!

Responsive website design is a great way for you to ensure your site is compliant with what Google wants to see and show in it’s results. A great way to check if your site is a match is by using think with Google. If you haven’t tried this site out before, it’s an easy to use service that will help you understand how your responsive website design can be improved and where you may be going wrong.

Think with Google result

#5. Grid design capabilities

One of the exciting nuances of responsive website design that developers across the globe love is Grid design.

What this means is that developers are able to specificy grids/blocks of content that will resize to minimum and maximum widths depending upon the screen resolution you’re viewing a site's pages on.

CSS and JavaScript frameworks such as Bootstrap which have gained widespread use are built on this concept and are extremely useful when designing these types of layouts.

If you haven’t checked out Bootstrap before, it's a great place to start if you’re looking to learn a few tips and tricks about developing a responsive website design.

As you can see below, frameworks such as this work on the following structures making web design a breeze!

Bootstrap Grid layout

#6. CSS Media Queries

The fundamentals of responsive website design all live and die with CSS Media Queries. If you’re new to web-based programming, don’t worry, this a particularly easy concept to learn, and is broadly accepted as the standard to follow when implementing cross device website designs.

Take this simple example from the W3Schools website below. This example shows you how to change the background colour of your page to light green when the width of your screen is 480px or wider. This means that if you wanted to set the colour of your background to be white on mobile devices, you could easily do this using the below CSS Media query.

CSS Media Query example

#7. Flexible images

One of the major benefits of responsive website design is the ability to resize images on the fly.

What this allows developers to do is upload a single image (preferably optimised for the web) and resize that image based on the device and screen dimensions the user is viewing the image on.

The good news here is that you can say goodbye to uploading multiple images to your site, simply optimise a larger image using a service such as TinyPNG or Compressor.io and your images will load lightening quick and display perfectly on all devices.

Tip: For those of you with a keen eye, you’ll notice that larger images which are set to display at smaller sizes on the web will actually produce a crisper result than a smaller fixed size image when uploaded to your site.

#8. Increased mobile performance statistics

When it comes to the performance of your website on mobile devices, there are a number of key metrics you’re going to want to keep an eye on. This includes:

Depending on your home or office mobile connection, chances are you'll see faster downloads on your desktop PC than your mobile device. An easy way to test this is using services such as Netflix's Fast.com from your mobile device and desktop remembering to ensure your mobile is running on your 3G/4G service not Wifi.

You’ll soon see that the speed differential can be significant, just look at ours below. In our office we have fibre Internet, so this was always going to outperform the capability of a mobile device (this test was completed on an iPhone 7 Plus).

Using responsive website design, building for mobile can be easy, along with the diagnosis of performance issues. So if you’re wondering whether your site can be saved because it’s slow loading, the answer is yes... especially if you’re going to build your site using a responsive site design.

Fast.com speed test on different devices

#9. Simplified reporting

The industry standard for generating reports on the performance of your websites is Google Analytics.

Analytics has been around since 2005 and has adapted to support the growing needs of the online community.

One of the fantastic unseen benefits of responsive website design is that you only need to setup one set of reporting metrics. Because you’re serving your visitors the same content, same URL’s and same set of tracking codes, reporting is super-simple.

Because there's so much you can report on in an Analytics environment, responsive website design is extremely conducive to simplifying reporting processes allowing you to better understand the performance of your site, where you may be able to improve, and potentially boost enquiries across your site.

#10. Significant boosts to conversion rates

If you have a website, then the #1 thing you want to see across your website is growing conversion numbers.

It’s online marketing 101. The more enquiries you receive via your website; the more chance you have of making a sale.

However, the one thing likely to turn your discerning users off is a poor user experience; enter responsive website design.

The underlying goal of responsive website design is to provide a positive user experience. Whether this is through high quality usability, fast loading web pages, or clever online capabilities, using a responsive website design as the basis of your site is extremely likely to boost the number of enquiries you receive as oppose to a site which is difficult to navigate, slow-loading and overall poorly built.

Google Analytics Chart Increase

#11. Responsive website design is the future

If you’re looking to future-proof your website design, you need to consider a responsive design.

AT OSE I can’t remember the last time we built a website design for a client that wasn’t responsive, simply because it works.

Not only are the designs we build for our clients capable of supporting all current and future devices, but are easy to maintain and enhance over time.

If you’re looking for a responsive website design no matter what the size or type of site you’re looking to build, get in touch with the team at OSE for a free consultation.