Internet users, and that likely includes you, are not often known for their patience. Studies show that a mere 1-second delay in loading time reduces customer satisfaction by a whopping 16%. Moreover, 47% of customers expect a page to load in 2-seconds or less, and 40% of customers will abandon a site that takes over 3-seconds to load.
Let that sink in for a moment.
It takes only 3-seconds to lose nearly half of your potential customers. On the flip side, a 1-second improvement can help you keep them. That’s an extremely fine line between failure and success.
Keeping up with the times requires flexibility to engage users over different platforms, especially in this age where mobile data is at the forefront of innovation. This is where Responsive Web Design comes in.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive Web Design is an “approach [to web design] that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation” (Smashing Magazine). This is contrary to websites that have separate mobile and desktop sites (more on that later). Pages that use responsive web design can adjust site features (layouts, images, text, borders, etc.) depending on the browsers and devices through which they are accessed.
For example, DIRJournal.com adjusts its features to suit different platforms. The website adapts to web browsers like Google Chrome and Safari just as easily as it does to mobile devices. You can test if your website is mobile friendly using cross browser testing software like Perfecto Mobile.
Why Do I Need Responsive Web Design?
A website that adapts to different platforms allows you to reach users where they are comfortable. Today, 2.6 billion people (including roughly 80% of all Americans) are smartphone users. The number is only increasing. Estimates say that smartphone users will balloon to 6.1 billion by 2020, which amounts to 80% of all mobile data traffic. Experts forecast mobile browsing to exceed desktop browsing within the next three to five years. Never before has the need for Responsive Web Design been more urgent.
Just a few months ago, Google announced it would include mobile-friendliness as part of its ranking criteria. In other words, having a mobile-friendly site improves your SEO performance. If this is any indicator of where they’re headed, it’s best to pay close attention.
How Does Responsive Web Design Benefit Me?
Having a single website that responds to different platforms (as opposed to having two or more sites for each platform) allows you to engage all your visitors in one place. This makes user activity and behavior much easier to track via analytics.
In addition, Responsive Web Design allows you to meet your customers or visitors where they are comfortable. More often than not, this translates to better engagement and increased page activity, which translates to more sales and/or conversions.
To gain insight on how your website fares on Responsive Web Design, you can run it through mobile testing software. The feedback generated by the software can easily identify which aspects of your website you can improve.
As Internet users vacillate between PC-based and mobile browsing, it is important to adapt with them. Good engagement is depends on whether or not you can respond immediately to the needs and preferences of your customers.