Tim McLaughlin, CEO and Co-Founder of Intuitive Company, contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
When launching a start up, growing a small business or looking to expand your online presence, the first step is to look into creating or expanding your website. There are a ton of factors to consider when undertaking creating a new website or redesigning a current website — from the navigation, to the look and feel, to the functionality. One factor that is often forgotten, but in today's world is critically important, is how your website will translate to tablets, e-readers and mobile devices.
It is no secret that the days of desktop and laptop usage as the primary web browsing tool are slowly dwindling. A recent Pew Research study shows that mobile users are not simply skimming headlines, as they were five years ago. In fact, many adults are also "reading longer news stories — 73 percent of adults who consume news on their tablet read in-depth articles at least sometimes, including 19 percent who do so daily. Fully 61 percent of smartphone news consumers at least sometimes read longer stories, 11 percent regularly."
Before the spread of mobile devices with advanced web-browsing capability, web designers had only one primary obstacle to overcome — to uphold a cohesive visual experience for a website in each of the various computer browsers. To adapt to the days of smartphones, tables and e-readers, designers have reinvented their approach to provide users the best website interaction across all tools.
Factors such as pixel-resolution, screen-size, support for Adobe's Flash technology and added visual elements have become essential for developers and business owners to consider when developing a new company website if they want to attract, engage and retain customers online. This is when responsive design becomes an integral part of a successful web design process.
Responsive web design is an approach used to code and format a website so that it provides an optimal viewing experience for users on multiple devices. By utilizing responsive design, designers can insure the ease of reading and navigation by creating a website with a minimum of resizing, scrolling, and panning across a wide range of devices — from desktop computers to mobile phones.
The designer creating a responsive design can ensure that a business owner's website navigation elements, text sizes, images, screen-layouts and audio and video players automatically and successfully adapt no matter the device being used. Not only is this convenient for the user, but it ultimately saves the business owner time and capital. Translation? If a company adopts the responsive design platform early, they will not need to reinvest efforts on maintaining supplemental versions of the same website down the road.
Save Time & Money
Understanding why responsive design is critical during website development for a business narrows down to three key fundamentals: capital, effort and the user experience.
The fact is, while the cost to make a responsive design based website is somewhat more than making a conventional site, the expenses to duplicate a website for mobile and other devices is significantly higher.
In addition, Responsive design applications ultimately decrease the total ownership cost. With a responsive design website, changes just need to be made to the one website and these changes translate across platforms. With a traditional website, each site needs to be updated individually, which could be a big lift.
Notably, engaging content and a solid SEO strategy have always been considered successful ingredients in any website development process. Yet, it is the user experience that enables visitors to learn more about a company and potentially make purchases. Responsive design is about providing the optimal experience no matter what technology the consumer is using and creating a reliable and easy-to-understand experience for each of your customers no matter their technology skill level. Having a website that is optimized across devices helps to ensure that your customers and potential customers can easily make purchases — hopefully driving revenue.
Now more than ever, digital content is meant to be viewed on a spectrum of different experiences. The question is: Will your business adopt the next chapter of the "one size fits all" approach?
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.