What is a Mobile Responsive Website?

What is a Mobile Responsive Website?

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Have you ever encountered one of those situations where you just want to scream, “For god’s sakes, what century are we living in? Why is this website not mobile responsive!?” The fact that we currently live in a world where mobile internet usage is already surpassing desktop internet usage allows me to give the question a solid YES. Undoubtedly, when that happens, it kills off your desire to continue browsing the website and it might even stop you from visiting the website again in the near future. No one likes browsing a desktop optimised website on a mobile phone, I mean, just imagine the amount of zooming in and out you have to do merely to read some simple information from the website. A mobile responsive website changes its layout and design to “look good” on your screen whether you are using a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop for the best website browsing experience.

The importance of mobile responsive websites has been summarised into 5 main points as follows:-

  1. Enhanced business reputation
    According to statistics, 57% of people will NOT recommend a business that owns a poorly designed mobile site; this indicates that you could enhance your business’s reputation by 57% merely by having a decent mobile responsive website alone!
  2. Improved brand engagement
    90% of people have reported that they tend to like a brand more when it provides a satisfying mobile browsing experience, which is powerful enough to make them more likely to return to the brand soon. They have also stated that a bad mobile browsing experience is prone to causing them to browse a competitor’s website as an alternative.
  3. Increased site visitor retention
    It is clear that site visitors will not stay on a website for long if they have to do a lot of “zooming in and out” simply to read some desktop-optimised content on their mobile devices. A mobile-friendly website guarantees a reduced bounce rate, which plays an important role in engaging customers on your website longer and increasing their purchase or enquires desires.
  4. User experience
    Since ¼ of web searches in the world are made on a mobile device, it is important to create a good first impression for mobile users when they discover your website from web search results. Having a mobile responsive website that looks good and is easy to navigate provides mobile users with a good mobile experience and first impression, whereas a poorly designed mobile website is going to be a deal-breaker without a doubt.
  5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
    Mobile usability is deemed one of the most important elements that determine your website ranking on search engines; Google has even declared that it would crawl the mobile version of websites before the desktop version. Having a mobile responsive website that follows good mobile usability practises will improve your website’s ranking on search engines, thus increasing the possibility of being spotted in first few pages of a web search result.

Now that you’ve got a rough idea of why a mobile responsive website is important, you are probably wondering, “How is a mobile responsive website developed?”. Fret not! Because you can get the answer right here, right now! Well, easy, a mobile responsive website is usually achieved by namely two approaches, which is Responsive Web Design (RWD) and Adaptive Web Design (AWD). In a nutshell, RWD is all about using CSS (scripting language) and HTML (markup language) to resize, hide, shrink, enlarge, or move the content to make it look good on any screen by three elements, which are fluid layout, flexible media, and media queries. Meanwhile, AWD revolves around adjusting to a detected device by selecting one of the pre-set collection of layout sizes that fits the screen size the best and alters the layout with CSS and JavaScript.

Both the approaches produce seemingly similar results, but what distinguishes AWD from RWD? You could always detect AWD but you might not be able to detect RWD. How, you ask? Well, both AWD and RWD websites tend to display different layouts when viewed on a desktop and on a mobile device, but RWD websites are usually indicated by an “m.” prefix in the website URL, like “m.facebook.com” that you would come across when you view a website on your mobile device. Unquestionably, AWD is best in user’s web browsing because it always provides the best layouts and elements that tailor to limitations of mobile devices. However, AWD also means EXTRA WORK as it requires you to build a separate website just for mobile devices, and it indicates DOUBLE MAINTENANCE WORK on two distinct websites. In relation to that, a website that employs RWD holds a massive advantage in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) seeing that the website is optimised for almost all devices in a single URL, enabling it to be ranked higher in search engines as compared to AWD approach that divides the website into two separate URLs, which indicates two different rankings.

In conclusion, it is essential for every business to have a mobile responsive website whether it be developed using RWD or AWD seeing that it improves overall user experience across devices that leads to customer retention and increase in enquiries and orders, as well as to be ahead of the game amongst your competitors.