Chris Owen

Written by Chris Owen

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Responsive Web Design for ALL!

The point where mobile users surpassed desktop counterparts in terms of accessing the internet is generally considered to be midway through 2014.

As we’re coming up to the one year anniversary of this monumental event it seems only right to mark the occasion by reiterating just how important it is to take this into consideration.

Accessing the internet via a mobile or tablet is simply what people do. Yes, there are still significant figures who don’t. Yes, your website might require the services of a skilled web design company. But the massive NO is the idea that building a responsive website is just an option; contrary to this, it’s a necessity.

If you’re still pondering on whether it’s worthwhile getting in touch with a local web design agency to make your site responsive, or you’re just wondering whether you can be bothered to make the changes yourself, read on, because in the words of Mr Schwarzenegger: “Failure is not an option. Everyone has to succeed.”

Mobiles aren’t going away (as much as we might like them to)

Anyone who wakes up and thinks that mobiles are a dying breed really needs to consider changing their cereal. Mobiles, by definition, offer a continuous route to the internet and there really isn’t anything that can beat this sort of access other than ESP – Google take note. From tablets and phones to watches and glasses, digital devices continue to develop and upgrade from one day to the next. This is precisely the reason why your website needs to be able to cope with visitors from every perceivable angle. The only way to do this is to ensure responsive design is included from day one. Take away: It’s totally time to think less about page views and more about system access.

It’s less hassle and less expensive concentrating on just one site

The more websites you have then the more time, energy and costs are going to be afforded to their upkeep and general maintenance. Having a separate, parallel, website, purely for mobile users, requires site redirects to be put in place as well as customised content to be added in order to avoid duplication penalties. Let’s face it, it’s hard enough to maintain one site, let alone two or three. Having a one-stop shop for all visitors makes sense and if you’re still investing your money on more than one site then it’s about time you bit the bullet and combined your web workload.

Search engines love responsive websites

Because Google says so!” has become something of a generic answer for all things web-based, and although it’s a bit like a parent saying to their child “just because…”, sometimes this really is the only response worth giving. Cutting down on duplicate content and poor quality websites has been the search engine’s ultimate quest for a good few years now. This basically means that you’re less likely to incur the wrath of the Google gods if you have a responsive site. This wrath may well manifest in many forms however, if you’re not mobile ready don’t expect to have nice things happen any time soon with regards to search engine rankings. The best way to check that you are ‘mobile-friendly’ in Google’s books is to use their handy tool. If it fails the test, it’s time to call in a website design agency, such as TKStarley, to remedy the situation before your search rankings take a turn for the terrible.

If you want to ensure your website is ready to receive all comers, including eagle-eyed search engine spider bots, then please pay heed to the following criteria as to what makes for an awesome responsive website:

  • Don’t use Flash or anything else that can’t be understood by the majority of mobile devices.
  • Reading a piece of online content shouldn’t require the user to make it larger in order to understand what it says.
  • Visitors should be able to enjoy a page of content without having to widen or enlarge the screen i.e. your website should size online text in accordance with the screen that’s being used to view it.
  • Sites should take into consideration how users will navigate around the site. So, separate links so they don’t get clicked by accident which could result in a terrible, terrible, incident and/or swearing.

Consider how you’d like it?

Empathy should never be taken lightly when designing a website and if you can put yourself in the shoes, or digital gloves, of one of your website’s users then you might well be half way to providing an experience that you’d appreciate yourself. We all know what it’s like to visit a site and feel the abject horror and disappointment of finding something resembling a children’s book where every page contains just one or two words. Or worse, feeling the frustration of not being able to find out information quickly when trying to cheat during a Monday night pub quiz. Ah, the horrors! Best advice is to think what would you actually like to see yourself. If you’re having a hard time reading your content or navigating your site when visiting on your new phone then just imagine how it feels for a new visitor.

Navigating your site should be a walk in the park

The key to having a great site is that it does exactly what users want it to do with the minimum of fuss. Information, entertainment, products, services, you name it and your site should be able to come up with the goods pretty much instantaneously. Once a visitor feels comfortable with your site then they’ll return time and time again. Ensuring a loyal audience is essential for spreading the word and if you consider most people will only pass on a negative experience it’s damned important to get it right first time. Making sure you provide a straightforward, fast and obvious route to your CTA (call to action) buttons is a sure-fire way to become successful online. Which is why providing a platform that enables users to seamlessly navigate your sign posts, no matter what they’re using, is no longer an option if everyone is going to succeed online.

More about the author: Chris Owen is a freelance copywriter specialising in digital marketing and creative content.