Responsive web design is a web design technique whose objective is that a site can be viewed on different devices, adapting the contents to the size of each screen. Due to the increasing use of mobile devices to access the internet, both to navigate and to interact and even buy, responsive web design is becoming increasingly important.
What is responsive web design?
Responsive web design does not consist of making a mobile version of a site. It tries to resize and place the elements of the website so that they adapt to each device. This allows everything to be displayed correctly.
In other words, responsive design consists of preparing the structure of a website so that it is able to adapt the contents both to the size and resolution of the screen and to the type of device on which they are being viewed, whether computer, tablet or smartphone.
Responsive web design uses style sheets in CSS3, which use the media query attribute to convert a normal web design into a cross-platform web design that can be adapted to all sizes and devices. Media queries are a series of commands that indicate to the HTML document how it should behave in different screen resolutions.
Advantages of responsive web design
Experts in web design in Oxford explain that converting a website into a multiplatform site thanks to responsive web design has many advantages. The most important are the following:
1. Improve the user experience
When a user can access the contents from any device and the contents are displayed correctly, it improves their experience.
A good user experience improves the brand image and decreases the bounce rate on a website. In addition, it encourages interaction, subscribing to newsletters and, in the case of e-commerce sites, also sales.
2. Avoid content duplication
Mobile versions of websites require the duplication of content, which seriously harms SEO. Responsive web design does not require the content to be created again since what it does is to reorganise the existing content so that it is displayed better.
3. Reduction of web development and maintenance costs
To create a site with responsive web design you only need a template for all platforms, which reduces costs compared to the option of creating a version for smartphones and even another for tablets. It also reduces maintenance costs, since modifying the main template affects the visualisation for all types of devices.
4. Increase virality in social networks
Several studies agree that a large part of the access to social networks occurs from mobile devices. Therefore, if a user accesses a website from their mobile it is easy for them to share the content that they find interesting. But if the content is not displayed correctly on their device, it will hardly be shared.
5. Load the site faster
Responsive web design improves the loading speed of the site in the different devices. A better loading speed not only improves the user experience but also influences the improvement of the website positioning in SERPS.
6. Improves the browsing experience
Responsive web design not only improves the navigation of the site in the distribution of the menus but also facilitates the browsing experience using buttons adapted to tactile use.
7. Improve website analytics
Website analytic tools such as Google Analytics are optimised to manage multiple devices and website reports with responsive web design. This will allow you to know from which devices users access your site and how they behave.
8. Improve visibility in search engines
Some of the above advantages directly influence the SEO of a website, such as loading speed or eliminating duplicate content in mobile versions.
In any case, Google recommends webmasters should use industry best practices regarding responsive web design; basically, use the same HTML for all devices and use only CSS media queries to enable content to be displayed correctly in each case.