Do you want to surf a website on your mobile in the same manner as you would on a desktop? The answer to this question will invariably be yes. And that's exactly the user behavior today across different audiences. As a response to this, the developer community started making different versions of websites for mobile and desktop. It was just the beginning of a journey that finally reached a destination that is now known as responsive web design. Today, we have mobiles, desktops, tablets, laptops, etc. trying to access web interfaces and the developers are in continuous pursuit of meeting these evolving needs of user community.
So what exactly is it? Responsive web design is the practice of enhancing the experience of the user by adapting the web page layout to the device she is using when accessing the site. Given the way smartphones and tablets are penetrating every market, and their increasing use to access web will pave the way for millions of screens trying to access web. Responsive web design in 2013 and years to come then becomes inevitable.
Source: Responsive Web Design image via Shutterstock.
Let's look at some advantages of using a responsive web design.
I think it's simple mathematics here. Managing more than one site to address needs of more than one platform, cost of updating these sites, coordination with vendors, etc. requires more time efforts, which are directly proportional to money being spent. In the long run, responsive websites work out to be more cost effective.
Enough has been said about creating a friendly user experience on web platforms. Responsive sites are a big step in that direction. Users need not worry about pages and images not loading properly, text going in scrolls, etc. Because the site adapts to the device the user is using to access information, user experience changes to a great extent, which leads to site stickiness.
Responsive web designs are almost future ready as newer and newer mobile platforms are emerging everyday. Businesses are finding it cumbersome to create a mobile destination separately; responsive web design is the key to stay connected with users through mobile.
Brands that have multi-channel content strategy can benefit a lot from making their web destinations responsive. It helps in an effective low-cost content marketing, as the brand assets will not be created individually to suit various screens. As mentioned above, there are huge cost savings that can be deployed to garner more content and other marketing activities.
Search Engine Optimization
Responsive web design helps you to focus your SEO efforts on one single destination in spite of trying to build traffic and links for three or more sites. Some businesses go for a mobile app as an alternative to mobile site; the problem with that is Google can't index apps and therefore won't be able to explore it. Also, any user-generated content added to an app won't be indexed. Responsive web design caters to this problem by making content that can be easily indexed by search engines.
Talking of Indian digital scenario, you can easily assume that your competitor is not using responsive web design, therefore it can be a huge business advantage, which leads to more sales and conversions, the key purpose of having a website after all.
With all these advantages, responsive web design will be key focus area this year. Brands will start to understand that whether via mobile or PC or tablet, the website is still the key destination to connect with its users and user experience has to be seamless to stay in the race.
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RP Singh is a digital marketing specialist with over 12 years of new media experience working in India, China, and Southeast Asia. As the CEO of Sirez Group, RP looks after 4 companies under Sirez: Sirez Infosystems, MRP Digital, Apptology and Sample&Try. He has worked at leading media networks WPP and Starcom MediaVest Group including organizations such as GroupM, Starcom, Ogilvy, Trident Group, and Smile Interactive. RP has worked on brands like P&G, General Motors, Amex, Diageo, Qualcomm, Nokia, Lufthansa, Pepsico, Economist, British Airways, GSK, Tourism New Zealand, HSBC, Ford, Perfetti Van Melle, Akzo Nobel, Apollo Tyres, GE Money and Hero Honda among others. He believes digital is about the consumer, not technology. RP has trained over 600 marketers in digital marketing so far and also a member of advisory council for World Brand Congress. A lead trainer and mentor for afaqs Campus, an active blogger, and a visiting faculty at leading B Schools.
March 19, 2014