If you’re considering designing a new website, or redesigning your current site, you may have heard the phrase “responsive” a few times. Do you need a responsive website? Is responsive design really important to your business?

On this page, we’ll explain what responsive design is, why it matters, and why you may want to implement it on your website. Keep reading to learn more!

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive website design refers to a method of design in which the content of a site is automatically adjusted and properly scaled to fit the screen on which it is being viewed, no matter its size.

Sites that are designed using responsive methods will display properly, and can be viewed without pinch-zooming, horizontal scrolling, or special plugins, on computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones.

from the Wikimedia Commons

from the Wikimedia Commons

While some of the elements may change — for example, the menus may appear in different places or may be automatically reduced in size or scope — the desktop and mobile versions of websites are typically very similar on sites created using responsive methods.

Why Are Sites Made Responsive?

Websites were changed to use responsive design beginning in the late 2000s as smartphones began to become the devices of preference among consumers. Viewing websites on these smaller screens was difficult, and developing a separate mobile website could be very costly.

Responsive methods were proposed as a way to create a single website that would automatically adapt to all screen sizes, both existing and those created in the future.

Currently, sites are converted, or recreated, to be responsive, so that browsers can generally have the same experience on all of their devices. A responsive website lowers the learning curve, creates a seamless experience, and can even help lower bounce rates and increase conversion rates.

Should I Make My Website Responsive?

Responsive websites are not for everyone. Some businesses may still want to develop a dedicated mobile website for their company, depending on their needs. For example, a hotel may find that a mobile website works better, because the homepage can be customized to display the options that matter most (ex. check-ins, booking, directions, photos), instead of trying to cram all the desktop version’s information into a small space.

Generally speaking, however, a responsive website is a smart decision. The usage of mobile devices continues to rise year after year. Consumers who find they are waiting a long time for a website to load on their mobile device, or must pinch-zoom or scroll to view content, are likely to get frustrated and leave to find the information or items they seek elsewhere. So you should investigate all your options to make your site mobile-friendly so that you do not potentially lose visitors, leads, or customers.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about the importance of responsive web design, and helped you make an educated decision about whether or not it is necessary for your website.