And does your business need it…
First Published: 02/13/14 | Updated 08/17/2020
When speaking with business owners about their website, a question that I’m often asked is, “What is Responsive Design, and do I need it?”
Quick Background on What It Is & How It Works
Responsive design is a revolutionary approach to web site design & development where a website “responds” to fit the size of screen you’re on.
Over the years (and since this article was first written back in 2014), there has been a significant shift to browsing and purchasing from mobile devices.
How It Works
Through Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), different settings are used to serve a viewer’s experience based on the size of screen, resolution, orientation (portrait or landscape), etc.
This eliminates the need to create multiple templates for various sized devices, and also eradicates the manipulation of a site through, “pinch and zoom.”
Can Responsive Design Be Added to My Existing, Non-Responsive Site?
Adding responsive to an existing site is more complicated to code than a design that planned to be responsive.
For this reason, keep responsive in mind when first creating your website, or use an existing responsive template. You will most likely spend more time and money trying to make a non-responsive design mobile friendly than you would if you were to pick another responsive template or redesign the site.
What are Some Other Options?
Mobile friendly templates and Mobile Apps continue to be possible alternatives to responsive design.
A mobile template can be designed and implemented to work with universally used devices. Basic, as well as custom designs can be created, and hiding content from mobile devices can help add to the mobile experience, as you can choose to prioritize or omit some information altogether.
Mobile Apps are another option for providing a mobile option. They can however, be pricey to create, and do nothing for SEO.
This is because mobile apps do not require internet connection in order to function; meaning the use of the app will not affect the rankings of a site on a search result page.
When an app is created, an eCommerce store is turned into an m-commerce app. This means that the app will have to be downloaded from an app store, and once running, risks the possibility of crashing on a user.
Mobile apps can also take a while to code, and are usually the most expensive approach of the three. Yet, they can also be great for an established company that wants to give customers access to a large amount of content, or a more unique experience.
Which Is Right for You?
The key to deciding which approach is right for you, is to consider what priorities are most important.
WordPress builders like Divi provide a responsive framework that will allow you to design and customize your website from scratch. To read more about Divi & our take on the builder, click here.
If you have a tighter budget, a website builder like Wix supports mobile-friendly designs, but is not 100% responsive.
Through the new Wix Editor X, (which is made especially for designers and agencies) responsive design will be supported.
If search rankings are not an issue, or you want a more controllable, mobile experience that doesn’t rely on internet connection to be operational, then a mobile app could be just what you need.
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