Responsive web design is essential in modern websites, we need to consider all devices and browsers
Adapting for mobile devices gives your users the best experience. Google reports on its blog that 61% of visitors leave a website it if is not mobile ready and deems responsive web design to be best practice.
The main thing is that you deliver the same content via mobile as you do via desktop. It needs to load quickly too, these visitors are on the move and need information immediately.
With Responsive Web Design we target our website designs at device types and screen sizes. It’s a bit like pouring liquid into a glass, adapting to fit the container. Below is a basic example showing a smart phone, tablet and desktop scenario. You can see how the columns adapt their size to better suit the device.
Menus need to be adapted to be usable on mobile, buttons must be easy to use with enough finger space around them and we must ensure that we don’t implement functionality that doesn’t work well on touch screens.
Oh and when we have done all of that it needs to look gorgeous!
Google’s Take on responsive web design
We recommend using responsive web design because it:
- Makes it easier for users to share and link to your content with a single URL.
- Helps Google’s algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page rather than needing to signal the existence of corresponding desktop/mobile pages.
- Requires less engineering time to maintain multiple pages for the same content.
- Reduces the possibility of the common mistakes that affect mobile sites.
- Requires no redirection for users to have a device-optimized view, which reduces load time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience (see Pitfalls when detecting user agents” section for details).
- Saves resources when Googlebot crawls your site. For responsive web design pages, a single Googlebot user agent only needs to crawl your page once, rather than crawling multiple times with different Googlebot user agents to retrieve all versions of the content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of your site’s content and keep it appropriately fresh.