Ethan Marcotte coined the term late 2008, and in 2011 published the book titled "Responsive Web Design." It was a game changer. Nearly two years have passed since The Ideal Website series first went online, and responsive web design has become mainstream.
Google loves “responsive”! According to a study released by Google, “What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today,” conducted by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger in July 2012,
Responsive web design is the approach web designers and developers now use to craft sites that provide the optimal viewing experience to users on Mac and PC desktop computers and a wide range of mobile devices. Responsive websites use fluid grids, proportion-based grids, flexible images and CSS3 media queries to deliver content more effectively to all visitors.
A quality user experience means the navigation system re-formats to the device, and takes into account whether the user is using a mouse or finger to point.
Panning side to side, and zooming in and out, are incredibly annoying, so blocks of content are formatted on the fly to make the information available by scrolling up and down only. Often, sidebar, header and footer content will be removed for small screens, delivering only what is most needed.
It amazes me how many of the websites I attempt to visit on my iPhone or iPad are still not responsive. #$^@!! The only way I'll even consider slogging through their horrid site is if the information is available no other place on the planet. If your website delivers a crappy experience to mobile users you can expect them to bounce (leave your site immediately) and check out what the competition has to offer. The cost of acquisition — getting those visitors to ever arrive at one of your pages at all — is wasted if they leave.
If your site isn't responsive, and your bounce rate is above 5%, you may be driving your mobile customers away. Fixing the problem should be your first order of business in 2015.
If you're not sure if your site is fully responsive, send us a quick email and we'll check on it for you.
Cole has been designing and developing websites since 1997. He's a content strategist and writer, conversion copywriter and online marketing coach.