Responsive Website Design Explained

As the importance and regular use of smartphones and tablets continues to increase, many website owners are looking at ways to improve the user’s experience on these devices. Developing a responsive website is a solution that has been growing in popularity in recent years.

Responsive Web Design

In order to understand the benefits, it’s important to understand what it means for a website to be responsive. Without getting overly technical, a responsive website uses “media queries” to discover the resolution of device it’s being served on and adjust its appearance to fit the size of the screen. In other words, the content on the page adapts to make the layout match the screen size it is being viewed on.

Benefits of a Responsive Design

The obvious benefit of a responsive website is that it is compatible with devices of any size. Although it is possible to achieve the same results (and in some cases an even more tailored experience) by creating different sites for each device, the time and cost associated with multiple sites can quickly become overwhelming.

A responsive web design is highly recommended for the following reasons:

  • Single website code base: Rather than maintaining a separate code base for different devices now used for internet searches, responsive websites can be updated from a single source to reduce time and money. It is possible to create a website for desktop, tablet, mobile as well as mobile touch devices that are available, but this also means creating, testing and maintaining each of these sites.
  • Preserves Link Juice & Page Authority: Link Juice refers to the number of times other websites wish to link to a page and is one of the major factors search engines look at when evaluating the value of a website. Multiple websites will create multiple URLs (links) to that page and will split or compete for the link juice benefits of that page.
  • Less Duplication of Content: Search engines like high quality, unique, informative content. Responsive website design reduces the amount of pages that a search engine needs to crawl and helps to ensure content is being served from one address.
  • No Redirection Required: Redirecting users to the device-optimized view increases loading time and diminishes user experience, which search engines really frown upon. Responsive websites avoid this additional loading time as well as errors that redirection often creates.

In addition to the reasons listed above, perhaps one of greatest arguments for responsive design is that it is Google’s recommended configuration. Responsive web design is still relatively new, but growing trend that is starting to be used by some of the most prominent websites on the internet. One of the most noteworthy examples this year was President Obama’s reelection website. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that responsive web design is rapidly transitioning from a web trend into web standard.

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