The importance of responsive web design

19/02/14
The importance of responsive web design

Your website proudly presents your business and its services, elegantly filling the screen with engaging content harnessed to a clear structure. You confidently refer your clients to your website, safe in the knowledge that it will efficiently direct them to all of the information they require, and more. You have ‘kept up’ with the digital revolution; you have an online presence and connect with clients using social media platforms.

So, what could possibly go wrong?

The Mobile Shift

Now more than ever, we expect information to be readily available at our fingertips. And I mean literally our fingertips; website engagement with a keyboard and mouse pad has long been losing out to touch screen mobile devices. A responsive web design is one way to ride with this mobile shift. This essentially means that the site layout adjusts in order to better suit the size of the device screen being used to view the website. Not that long ago, mobile optimised sites were rare, now responsive web design is an expectation.

Here’s an example of how a responsive website (www.paintingpixels.co.uk) adjusts to a variety of screen sizes:

 (video)

The shift from laptop to mobile device (including tablets) can cause all sorts of things to go wrong. Horrors include overlapping content, pages falling off the edge of the screen, extensive page loading delays, illegible fonts and navigation rabbit holes to name a few. Needless to say, these are annoying and may cost you an interested customer.

But what if your website has not been unusually distorted, and just looks like a miniature version of the pc site? Also problematic, this is an example of a desktop site rendered on a smartphone, and normally features overly wordy content and difficult navigation. Small buttons and drop down menus are designed to be used with a nimble mouse pointer, and such tasks do not translate well when attempted by clumsy fingers. However accurate mobile touch screen technology, rows of tiny buttons combined with a slightly impatient touch do not mix well.

A client’s first experience of connecting with your business digitally should be effortless and enlightening, not frustrating. They don’t want to have to pinch the screen to adjust for tiny buttons, and they certainly don’t want to endlessly scroll sideways in order to view the site at a legible size. Unfortunately, as consumers we are impatient and have high expectations; if we haven’t found what we are looking for (or something interesting) we will quickly move on to another site and our return will be highly unlikely. Even worse, we are likely to associate this single negative mobile experience with the entire brand.

Why lose out on interested clients simply because you have not provided an easy to use and engaging online experience? Fantastic content and stunning website aesthetics are wasted if they do not translate across the variety of devices customers are using to view it. Combinations of different brands, models and devices could put the number of different screen sizes to over 500. A business has seconds to make a great first impression; one that is hopefully not memorable for the wrong reasons.

Painting Pixels Multimedia Design Studio specialise in web design in Ipswich, and all of our designs are tailored to, and work perfectly with, each device your customers may be using to connect with you. Whether you want to simply ensure your website looks great on mobiles, or completely update your digital presence with fresh graphic designs and engaging animations, we have the experience to make sure your first impression is a great one.

Here’s an example of one of our clients interacting with this website (www.paintingpixels.co.uk) on a mobile device; the text is always legible without needing to pinch the screen, the header menu makes navigation easy and viewing image reels is effortless.

 (video)