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The year is 2003. You begin to see people walking around with these huge phones with little swizzle sticks to write with, make phone calls and check email. You turn to the person next to you and scoff at the huge phone and tell them how weird those “smartphones” are.
Back then the only people who had smartphones were people in very expensive suits and dresses. Fast forward a decade and more than 60% of Americans can be found with a smartphone glued to their hand. These smartphone users are not just using these devices for making phone calls and checking emails, no these little devices have become society’s on the go mini-laptop. People look up everything from movie times to restaurant reviews to store locations. While this may seem like second nature to most of us now, you would be surprised how many businesses forget about this fact and how it relates to their website.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Have you ever used your phone or tablet to check a website only to find that you either have to zoom to see the actual text or you can’t see it at all? For the majority of us the answer is yes. It becomes irritating and the majority of the time you will navigate to another site that is easy to read on your device without having to zoom or do any sort of extra work. This other site that has the ease of use that most mobile and tablet users like is called a Responsive Site.
Responsive sites have become increasingly popular and necessary within the last few years. With the amount of tablet and smartphone users growing substantially year over year, small business, large corporations and even the lonely blogger don’t want to lose their audience and/or lose that sale due to user frustration.
Essentially Responsive Web Design (RWD) is crafting a site to have the optimal user experience across a wide range of devices. RWD sites adapt to the users devices with very little resizing, panning, or scrolling, while still maintaining your site’s look and feel.
What if I Don’t Care About the User Experience?
If that is the case, nothing I say will probably change your mind, however there is one last thing that you should consider – Google Cares. Google’s official stance on mobile optimization says “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”
What this really means is, if Google cares, you probably should suck it up and care too. This year alone Google has kept SEO’s on their toes with all of the algorithm changes, between Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. Google has already warned us that back in July that not having a responsive design will affect your search rankings. While Google is just one of the possible search engines that are out there, normally once they say jump, the others say how high, and follow in suit.
So now the question really is, are you willing to take your chances of having your site not ranking because you don’t have a responsive design? We have some great examples of Responsive sites we’ve developed for our customers. Check them out on your iPad or smartphone!