Heard about Responsive Design for Websites?
Does your business have a website?
Have you looked at it lately on a smartphone?
Have you tried to use it like a potential client might do but using a smartphone?
How did you get on? Rate your experience out of 10. Go on, be honest.
Now deduct 3 points, because we’re a critical bunch when we’re on crowded trains or queuing for a crappy sandwich at lunchtime. How did you score?
Everyone knows that Google, recognising the exponential rise of internet access using mobile devices, is rewarding mobile-friendly sites with higher ratings. Now before you interpret that as a potentially fatal problem, or worse are told that it’s a penalty for sites that don’t operate well on mobile devices, believe us when we tell you – it’s not terminal or a penalty.
Some Interesting Facts…..
Sites which are not mobile friendly are not necessarily being penalised, but that’s not the viewpoint of the people responsible for them because, where there’s a winner, something else has to make room for it. That means many web designers are spreading the message ‘get your site mobile friendly or lose out’. Let’s look at what this means to you a bit more closely.
The trouble is sometimes in the terminology used. ‘Responsive Design’ doesn’t mean a lot until someone explains the term – it means that a site which is designed as responsive recognises the type of device being used and serves up content configured (geek alert-using CSS) specifically for that type of device. So what happens if your site has not been designed to be responsive? Is it all over for your site?
The Alternatives to Responsive Design
Dynamic sites deliver different code for different devices, changing both HTML and CSS to suit.
Having a URL specifically for mobile is the second alternative, so a desktop/laptop user would use the prefix ‘www’ and a smartphone/phablet user would opt for ‘m’, but how many people even bother with the ‘www’? Not many, so expecting people to type in ‘m.’ is possibly unrealistic. Check your traffic stats, who is viewing your site on mobile devices now and over the last 3 months, the answer here will guide you into how worried you need be and how urgent changing your site is for your business.
A mobile friendly site may also mean a text-light version with lower-bandwidth images and video for mobile devices, which will help a site to load quickly where 4G isn’t as reliable as we might wish. Site loads quickly, visitor stays with it, Google’s robots recognise the site structure and ranks that aspect accordingly.
The main challenge with reducing text is that we know Google also rewards quality content, so some people are naturally nervous about reducing the textual content of their sites. There are always options available for ‘read more’ features where text is lengthy and sidebars can be coded not to display when a mobile device is detected, which means that the content is still there for the robots to rate and remains available as an option for a mobile user.
The main thing for site owners to be aware of when a site designer or engineer says the words ‘Responsive Design’ is that there alternatives available, all of which are supported by the major search engines. Each has its’ own set of challenges and limitations, which always leave us with a choice of compromises, but that’s nothing new in web design or business.
There’s little doubt in most minds that as the technology develops Responsive Design will take first place on the rostrum, but it’s a single facet of marketing that shouldn’t influence core content and overall development strategy. Don’t get hung up on it. Check out your visitor preferences and how they use your site now and, of course, if you only have 200 visitors a month and only 6 of them are using a mobile device then the spend to go mobile with your site is not going to be a number one priority for you. Chat to us about how you can resolve this for your business. We can be contacted using the details here …………………………………….>