Why does your website need to be responsive?

Responsive web design is regularly touted as being essential for modern sites that want to meet the expectations of visitors, but what are the advantages of this approach to design and why should every site be optimised in this way?

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Mobile matters

The rise of responsive design has taken place in tandem with the growth of smartphone and tablet use. More people now browse the web from their portable devices than from laptop or desktop PCs, meaning that all sites must be displayed correctly on mobiles if they want to succeed. There is nothing more frustrating than searching for a Gas Meter Box on your phone to be faced with a slow and unresponsive website.

Responsive design allows a site to mould itself to whatever device is being used for access, whether a smartphone with a five-inch display or a smart TV with a 55-inch screen. A combination of traditional HTML, CSS and other elements, including JavaScript, make this achievable.

Responsive motivations

It is not just visitors that need to be placated with responsive design, but also search engines such as Google and Bing. These now factor in whether a site is mobile friendly as part of the ranking process and display this alongside links on their SERPs.

The SEO implications of responsive design, along with the technical steps that need to be taken to achieve compliance with contemporary ranking signals, can be explained in depth by web design companies.

Underlying elements

There are three main aspects of a responsive site, the first of which relates to the fluidity and flexibility of the overall layout. This means that eliminating rigid, fixed resolutions for interface elements is important, as you will want elements such as your header, side bar and main content segment to adjust the amount of space they accommodate automatically.

Responsive imaging and media integration will come next, as you not only need to worry about how a picture is resized on the page but also the size of the file itself. Large, high-quality, uncompressed images may look great but they can be a compromising factor on mobile devices with sluggish connections.

Finally, you need to factor in media queries, which will determine which type of content to display depending on the device being used by a visitor. This will help you to keep or eliminate certain layout and interface elements to give all users the best experience.

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