Responsive Web Design: What is it? And why do you need it?

Responsive Web Design: What is it? And why do you need it?

Contributor: Katie Karpinski 

Don’t you just love it when the barista gives you a decaf coffee instead of a regular? Or how about when the waiter brings you the wrong order? Or even better—have you ever had your name misspelled on your own birthday cake? Sure, these might be silly examples but they all illustrate a very relevant underlying topic: getting something you technically want or need, but not in the form you desire. Do we still drink the coffee? Probably. But will we go back to that shop again? Probably not. In the digital world, this disconnect is properly illustrated by unresponsive websites—sites that, while technically available on mobile devices, aren’t optimized for that usage, resulting in distorted layout and usability.

Responsive web design is an emerging tactic that competitive firms are using to ensure that this disconnect doesn’t occur.

So what is responsive web design? Most simply, it is ensuring that your website is appropriate to the specific user on the specific device and channel they are using to view your site. The use of mobile phones and devices is steadily increasing and companies must keep up! Not providing your customers with the proper layout and design on their preferred device signals to them that you don’t care enough to make the site responsive to their individual needs and preferences. When web responsiveness goes unchecked, it can result in disastrous effects; mainly a decrease in website visits and conversions.

If you still aren’t convinced, take a look at these quick stats from

55% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices

80% of consumers use their smartphones to shop online

Mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches since 2015

Still not convinced? What if I told you web responsiveness can also save you money and increase your ROI? Instead of managing both a mobile website and a traditional site, designing your site responsively means that only one site needs to be managed and developed. Instead of having a separate site for each device, you can centralize your efforts and ensure that site you worked so hard on is clearly and easily accessed by your target market. This not only reduces overall cost, but it also gives you a more accurate and comprehensive view of how your website is performing.

Bottom line: web responsiveness is no longer a “suggested” strategic move, but a necessary one. Don’t bring the decaf coffee—give your customers what they want!



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