Why responsive design is important for business success

Responsive Website design

Why responsive design is important for business success

First up let’s explain a bit about what a responsive site is so you know what we talking about. When you have a site that does not resize (fluid width) to your mobile / tablet / device screen your site is not responsive.

Remember the sites that you have to pinch to zoom? Pinch to zoom sites on mobile multi-touch devices are typical non-responsive sites. You will find this with older sites when the internet was limited to desktop devices.

A responsive site will show a mobile user friendly menu (hamburger menu) and the links and action spots will be fat finger friendly.

The site width will snap to the device width no need for pinching or scrolling from left to right to see the rest of the webpage.

Note, that there are two other methods by which to offer a mobile-friendly experience. The first is called Dynamic Serving, which uses the same URL but different HTML and CSS code (responsive). Pages recognize the device they are viewed on, and serve up the correct code. The second method, is a separate mobile site altogether. When users visit on a mobile device, they are sent to a different mobile-specific URL. Both serve the same purpose but the latter has duplicate content and duplicate work involved .

So why is it so important for users to see a nice responsive site instead of a small zoomed out site? There are quite a few reasons but the one that stands out the most is that Google gives preference to responsive sites for mobiles search. Mobile users account for approximately 60 – 80 % of website traffic to most websites. Google jumped up and noticed this so they started “demoting” non-mobile friendly sites and promoting responsive sites. Being found online should be a priority in any business with a website. Duh!

Let’s put that into an example: say Joe’s Tyres had a nice responsive site and Bob’s Tyres did not. When a user searches in Google for tyres then Google would recognise that Joe’s Tyres would give the user a better user experience so they would serve Joe’s Tyres as an option first above poor Bob’s Tyres.

Which brings me on the next and possibly the most important reason why it is important. UX. User Experience. Believe it or not websites with a poor mobile user experience have a ridiculously lower conversion rates than users with a super UX.

What’s a Conversion Event?

While conversion rates are discussed most often for ecommerce sites, it’s a concept that should matters to everybody who has a website. Conversions don’t have to be sales but can be any key performance indicator (KPI) that matters for your business.

A few examples include:

  • Buying something on an ecommerce site
  • Becoming a registered user
  • Signing up for a subscription (whether paid or free)
  • Downloading trial software, a whitepaper, or some other goodie that presumably will predispose people to progress in the sales funnel
  • Requesting more information about a consulting service or B2B product

Conversion Rate and Mobile User Experience

Yes there are many non-UX parameters that impact conversion, but the actual design has a huge impact. Back to Joe’s Tyres and Bob’s Tyres, let’s say their conversion event is making contact via the contact page. Joe’s Tyres has a simple to navigate mobile navigation and Bob’s Tyres does not. The user will not stay on Bob’s Tyres site looking for the contact page longer than a few seconds. While the user is staring Bob’s Tyres on his mobile screen trying to pinch zoom and scroll left to right to figure out where to click on a navigation item, Joe’s Tyres would already have received the call and thus conversion event completed. Increasingly shrinking attention span keeps influencing conversions; in 2010, a page that took 6 seconds to load suffered a 40% loss in conversion. Today, a page that takes 6 seconds to load will experience a 50% loss in conversion. People want information now, or they’ll go elsewhere to find it. (drop off)

In summary:

  • Mobile Audience is always increasing so don’t ignore them!
  • Google will reward you for a beautifully responsive site
  • Conversion rates will increase with a better mobile user experience and mobile speed

It’s simple be like Joe’s Tyres

*These are all ideals and while in a perfect world all sites would load in 2 seconds this is quite an unreal reality if you want any large imagery at all and suffer a slow internet connection.

Andre Vorster
TNNG Web Dev
Group Head 
The No Nonsense Group