More on being mobile friendly: Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design allows the viewer similar experience in different platforms.A recent conversation with a client, who goes back some 15 – 20 years or so, got me thinking. He was looking at getting a new website. His current site last saw some minor updates some three or four years ago. He’s had problems with some aspects of the site and wanted to get the site working better.

But, we had a big hurdle to overcome, the base site was some 10 years old. In the web world that’s pretty old. Though maybe not as much as dog years, but close.

Now, the point I make here is not about the age of the site, but about the need for the site to follow Google’s requirements for mobile friendliness. He questioned the need for this as he didn’t think his viewers would use smartphones or mobiles to view the website.

I disagree. BTW, I got out of arguing the point by saying, “it’s not something we had a choice in as Google wants this so, we have to do it.”

Years ago, when I did some SEO work for a client, I noted how views on mobile platforms rose from single to double digits in a matter of a few months. And, that I think can be a trend that is pretty much the norm today.

If you go around with friends and associates, you will inevitably see them view emails and check out website on their smartphones or tablets. There’s no getting away from it. And, as the younger set get jobs in industry, their daily habits translate to work habits. As well, as the older set gets more used to mobile platforms that will increase the need to allow for this.

Now for the more technical aspect of this new requirement let’s look at Responsive Design. I refer you to an excellent article prepared by my colleague, Manoj Manghnani of Pulse Solutions.

His point along the lines I made earlier, “With the increasing use of mobile devices from Smartphones to tablets, to accomplish every task from checking emails to browsing social media websites to doing online shopping, one thing is obvious that mobile devices are taking over Internet surfing. As more people are beginning to use mobile devices, it is clear that today’s business cannot underestimate the importance of responsive web design.”

So, what is responsive web design, anyway? “A responsive design is simply constructing the site in the manner so that all of its structure, including content and image remains constant on any device – from desktop to mobile phone to tablets. It provides an optimal viewing experience with easy navigation and  easy reading with little need to pan, scroll, or resize content across all devices. But it is just not about resizing the website to fit the mobile screen—it is about designing optimal user experience making your content easy to read and share.”

Importantly for marcomms practitioners, Google pushed for “responsive design when designing a website, which is enough for the world to jump on the bandwagon and make sure that all their websites are responsive. Giving them their due, Google is indisputably interested in making the user’s experience worthwhile.” Google recently pressed webmaster to “include mobile friendless as a ranking signal which will have a significant impact on the search results.”

So, it’s not something we can easily disregard. Responsive web design is now a requirement, full stop. Case closed.

More on this subject in my next post.

More on responsive website design
SEO, Google and being mobile-friendly

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