Monday 4 May 2015

Why Do I Need a Responsive Website?

Responsive websites adapt to a variety of  formats

Written by Meg Braley 

You may be scratching your head saying “I don’t even know what a responsive website is. How do I know if I need one? How do I know if my current website is responsive?"

Here is the test. When you look at your website on a smartphone, is it just an extremely tiny version of what you would see on your PC? Do you have to zoom in and then move it around until you can read the text and click on links? 

Meg Braley, senior web designer

If that’s what you see, your website is not responsive. In a nutshell, a responsive website automatically resizes to fit the screen of whatever media you are using to view it whether it’s a desktop, tablet or smartphone. When a website is responsive, it gives the user a much better viewing experience. It makes it easier to get to the information they are looking for – the information you want them to have! Using responsive design integrates interaction such as touch screens and makes for a more enjoyable experience for users.

With the high number of smartphones and other digital devices used throughout Canada, responsive website design can no longer be considered a trend. Offering people a positive experience, no matter what device they are using, means you are engaging more prospective customers. It only takes an annoyed user a few seconds to become frustrated with your site and then move on to a competitors more mobile friendly website.

Google’s New Search Engine Requirements

You may have heard Google’s announcement earlier this month that they are now giving higher ranking to mobile friendly websites. To quote Google, “This change…will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not the only measure of a good website, but it is critical that prospective customers find your website when they do a search. If your website falls in its SEO rankings, it will also fall further down the page in internet searches.

So what to do? Glad you asked!

Can a Non-Responsive Website be Updated to Responsive?

Upgrading an older non-responsive website to become responsive is only possible if the original design has certain features that make it adaptable. Your website may only be 4-5 years old, but there have been many changes in the past four years. 

As always, cost is a consideration. If the redesign is extensive it could cost almost as much as a new website. If that is your situation, you would be further ahead to just start with a new site that is properly programmed with responsive design right from the start.

As a website designer/developer, I am constantly studying new trends to learn the latest advances in web design. It is a never ending “learning curve”. 

My goal is to keep current, and keep client websites ups you the improvements that will make your website a valuable part of your overall marketing. If your website is not responsive, I can help you with that!

Meg Braley is the senior designer for Unimark Creative. She is a life-long learner and makes a point of keeping informed about the latest online trends and changes. She is a founding partner of Unimark.  

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