Using Responsive Websites to optimise user experience - By Dave Goodyear

  • By Mercia Group
  • 5 February 2014 00:00

Responsive websites may be relatively new to the online market, but it is clear that it will become standard practice in the coming years. Mobile usage is becoming more and more popular and the vast amount of smartphones and tablets available has changed the way we view websites.

This is the third in a series of blogs about five important marketing areas that accountancy practices should focus on in 2014. If you missed the first two blogs you can find the first one here and the second one here.

What is a responsive website?

A responsive website automatically scales to any type of screen size. This means that if you view a responsive website from any mobile, tablet of desktop device, the experience will be optimised for however you access the URL. This means that you don't need a separate mobile site creating, so there are no additional mobile site costs or maintenance. A responsive site is not just about making sure your site looks good on an iPhone or iPad, it is making sure that the functionality is as good as it can be for the user.

Why should I have a responsive site?

With a responsive platform both the content and design layout will automatically scale to the device - meaning no content has to be removed, or designs vastly altered. Most importantly, responsive websites are future proof, so no matter what devices are developed in the future, a responsive website will adapt to this and with the rapid growth of technology and platforms. We know there will only be a greater need for this as technology progresses to meet user needs.

Think of it this way, if you are on a mobile device and searching for information or detail from a website, but if it is difficult to view and providing a bad experience - it reflects badly on the site/company. So why would you want your site to convey this message? You wouldn't. Having a responsive website ensures the user experience is not affected on any device, and allows all of your content to be displayed in the correct format.

The alternative to having a responsive website is to have a mobile specific design; these are developed to work specifically on mobile screens, but only that. This often means that there is a reduced level of content or functionality to aid page load speeds. Mobile specific websites will not adapt to the variety of screen sizes that are developed and they also have an alternative URL to your 'desktop' site.

A one site fits all approach will undoubtedly become the norm, so embracing this sooner rather than later will only be a positive for businesses.

Responsive Design and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Having a responsive website will not have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Businesses that depend on Google for site traffic can take heart from Google stating their preference for responsive websites: "It keeps your desktop and mobile content on a single URL which is easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to, and for Google's algorithms to assign the indexing properties to your content."

Responsive Users

It is important to remember that you build a website for your users and their requirements. At Mercia totalSOLUTION we make sure that our responsive builds complement the company offering, but remain accessible to all. The hierarchy of content and information you display is important, but it all becomes meaningless without simple user access, which is all aided by a responsive design. However, do not forget that it is important to ensure you have informative and interesting content the user can engage with, without this your website (responsive or not) is pointless.

To find out more about responsive designs visits our website or email us.

You might also be interested in these articles…