Two years ago, responsive web design made barely a blip on the digital marketing radar screen. Today, industry analysts and digital marketers sing its praises for providing a rich experience whether the user accesses a website from a desktop, a smartphone, or a tablet.
So what is responsive web design, and why all the buzz? Simply put, responsive web design is just what it sounds like. It allows a website to respond directly to any device the viewer chooses taking into account all the variables, such as screen size, resolution, and functionalities. And it’s what those viewers are choosing that’s creating all the buzz.
Look around you anywhere you go. There’s a good chance you’ll see someone browsing the web on an iPhone, an Android, or other mobile device—booking an airline ticket, making a restaurant reservation, checking a movie schedule, shopping for a product, or simply looking for information.
To provide an optimal online experience, smart companies have already developed apps for the major mobile platforms. But with the explosion in the number and types of mobile devices and for this rapidly growing base of mobile Internet users, more and more website owners have embraced responsive web design to ensure that their website is optimized for the ever-expanding marketplace of mobile device users.
They’re well advised to do so if you consider some recently reported statistics.
According to IDATE, globally the number of mobile internet users should reach 2.1 billion in 2013, overtaking the number of users of fixed Internet of 1.9 billion.
Comscore says that two out of every five smartphone users have used their mobile device to make a purchase.
Forrester, a global research and advisory firm, predicts that by 2016, worldwide mobile users will spend more than $31 billion via mobile devices (Wall Street Journal). Also, tablet users are significantly more likely to complete a purchase than PC users: 4% to 5% on a tablet, versus 3% on a PC. Gartner data from November 2012 shows that despite a 3% decline in overall mobile phone sales, smartphones saw a 47 percent increase from the same period last year.
At Interakt, we’re firmly in the responsive web design camp as more and more of our clients see how a mobile or tablet version of their website can increase their reach and results. Although the technology is still fresh, we’ve created a responsive web design site for a global leader in commercial transportation, giving the site a fluid design that allows easy access for a wider audience and across all devices.
Today, responsive web design has become more than a “nice-to-have,” it’s essential for any organization that aims to engage and transact business with the broadest of audiences online.