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The stats for surfing the web on a mobile or tablet are remarkably high. Most of us are kitted-out with a ‘super computer’ (common name: smart phone) in our pockets enabling us to Google any-thing, anywhere and at any time. The times of only accessing the internet on your desktop/laptop are long gone. Many will be familiar with Googling from a mobile device and coming across a website where the content is nearly impossible to read. It’s so teeny-tiny and you have to zoom in and scroll to the right to read one line of text. If I’m describing your website, you will have users bouncing off at a huge rate of knots. It won’t matter how beautifully formatted it looks on a laptop, if it’s a nightmare on a mobile, visitors will not stick around long enough to read your content.
What is Responsive Web Design?
A responsive design optimises website elements for every viewing device. It detects the user’s screen size and resizes layouts, text and images to suit. That means fonts are just as perfectly readable on an iPhone as they are on a 19″ flat screen desktop monitor. It also makes navigation large and you can get around and read what you want with a minimum of fuss. Here’s an example of what happens on many sites these days: notice how each content block scales to fit the available space.
Do I need a Responsive Website?
Yes, and it’s very important. More than just about anything else, this is your opportunity to make a good impression on someone who’s visiting your site on a mobile or tablet. If your site is responsive they can get right down to the business of your content; the reason they were coming to your site in the first place. If however it’s not responsive it’s pretty likely they’ll hit the back button because reading your content is too hard on their device. That’s the game we play when we don’t offer our visitors a really nice mobile user experience – we might lose them just as quickly as we had their attention and send them into the arms of a competitor.
What does Google think?
If you needed any further convincing, Google might just tip the scales for you. If your website isn’t responsive, Google will bump your site down in its rankings and put you below sites which are. It won’t matter that your content is excellent and useful and should be popular, if it’s not readable on a mobile, Google will demote you.