Let’s just put it out there. The buzzword of the decade…responsive.

In today’s world, websites are responsive. Responsive web design is not just an add-on. It should be an integral part of any website design project.

Responsiveness is not the cheddar cheese that gets sprinkled on top of my tomato soup. It is the tomato itself. It’s not an after-thought, or even a half-way-through-the-process-thought. It is at the core of the website, because it determines how a website functions. Successful website design is responsive. It’s necessary in order to create a relevant presence for your company today.

Let’s break it down further…

What Does Responsive Mean?

According to Merriam Webster, responsive means “quick to respond or react appropriately.”

Responsive websites respond or react appropriately to their environment, whether that be on desktop, tablet, mobile, or any other device that pops up in the time I write this blog post. With the increasing number of devices, screen sizes, and even screen resolutions to consider, responsive websites should create a fluid transition between any and all possibilities.

Responsive design doesn’t just scale your website down to fit any screen – that doesn’t create an optimal user experience. The manner in which a person uses a desktop computer is vastly different than how a person uses their phone. Great websites take into account many different “responsive” variables in order to be successful; the reformatting of text, how images are displayed, hierarchy of content, button sizes and placement, adaptability of elements, the list goes on and on.

responsive-web-design-buzzword-blog-2“Responsive” vs. “Mobile Optimized”

We’ve covered, generally speaking, that responsive is synonymous with website design in this day and age – making your website look great on any device and any screen. That’s a given. On the other hand, “mobile optimized” websites are designed with the mobile user experience as the number one priority. Everything hinges on how a person interacts with your business via a mobile phone. This route isn’t necessary for every company, but for certain businesses, it’s critical. In this instance, desktop design becomes secondary (which is contrary to the way most of us still tend to think about websites). Designing mobile-first, for the right audience, can make all the difference.

When brainstorming with your agency about your website, make sure you’re on the same page about where your company stands on this issue. To help you explore this option, consider the following:

Who is your target audience?

Think of character traits outside of the general age range, location, education, etc. Consider their day-to-day activities. What are their general technology habits? What time of day are they interacting with your brand or website? While at work or at home? Even consider other interests they may have. The more information you have on your target audience, the better.

What is your product or service?

Along with your target audience, your products and services can determine how your website should function. Should the website be content-heavy or image-based? Or a balance between the two? Does your website involve e-commerce? Where do you want to lead the visitor on your site? Even your industry can play a role – the website needs for brands in the technology industry are very different from the retail industry.

What are your current site analytics telling you?

Take a close look at your Google analytics. Where are your website visitors coming from? On what type of device? Is your current website successful? Is there room for improvement? Do you need to attract a new demographic to succeed?

Addressing some of these questions with your agency will help you speak the same language when it comes to website design.

Responsive web design is critical in a world where technology is quickly evolving, day by day. Want to chat with us about your website design needs? We’d love to hear from you.

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