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What Does “Responsive Design” Really Mean?

Published on June 27, 2017 in User Interface, Web Design & SEO


Anyone who has built a website in recent years has surely heard the term responsive design. The idea that modern websites need to display properly on a broad range of devices and screen sizes is widespread and a very important aspect of website design.

Since you can’t predict what kind of device your audience uses to access your website, you need to design the site to automatically adapt to any device on the market. On the surface, that means that your site needs to accommodate desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones with flexibility.

Going Deeper into Responsive Design

True responsive design goes beyond the digital reformatting of content to fit a screen width. In reality, it’s a user interface philosophy that goes deep into how websites can better engage visitors.

Consider, for instance, what desktop website elements can or should be hidden when browsing on a smartphone. Given the context of where and when people are using smartphones, ex: in a car or walking, or in a retail environment, we can assume they expect the answers to their searches to load quickly.

Click to call buttons need to be easily and immediately available or in a fixed screen position. Forms should be as brief as possible. Use drop down menus where possible to move visitors through a process quickly and easily. Touch points should be arranged in a way that both right- and left-handed users can effectively navigate the site.

In order to maximize screen real estate, obtrusive or unnecessary display elements, extra spacing or slow loading imagery must be optimized. This kind of strategic user interface design thinking is what makes the difference between a mobile-optimized site that generates leads and one that has a higher bounce rate and lower engagement.

Aside from providing valuable content, the goal is to accelerate page loading.

Simplify Code and Optimize Content

Reducing loading times by optimizing your mobile site code and structure can produce significant results. Kissmetrics notes that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less – and a one second delay can reduce conversions by as much as 7%!

In order to address this issue and provide mobile users with better experience, Google has created a platform called Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP design facilitates the creation of web pages that load quickly and perform well under a wide variety of conditions, screen sizes and devices.

The platform basically limits HTML, css and JavaScript coding to accelerate page loading. There is also a caching option for large sites that wish to be immediately accessible on Google’s servers. If your business expects to grow the mobile segment of their traffic, responsive websites need to leverage these technologies to remain competitive.

From a visual point of view, AMP pages are stripped down, but that doesn’t mean they are boring or just text. The idea is to remove anything extraneous that doesn’t contribute to a conversion or engagement.

Cost

The job of building well optimized mobile pages requires more time and coding than a typical responsive website design. You’re really building multiple or alternative versions of a web page. One way to control costs is to build AMP versions of your website pages that require action, or tend to be read in a mobile environment. Considering you have less than 7 seconds after someone launches your website to engage them, AMP version of your home page that loads in 1-2 seconds is a good idea.

Vortex Communications is a graphic and web design firm that provides responsive web solutions to business clients throughout the State of Florida and beyond. We leverage our experience in SEO and PPC to deliver excellent digital marketing services to our clients. Call us today for a quote!

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