Mobile Responsive Web Design What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Written By PhilG

Bradford Marketing Hub contains articles and information that help small and medium service businesses.

Mobile responsive web designs look good and function properly on large and small screens, laptops and smartphones.

Mobile Responsive Web Design works well on all device sizes.

50/50 Smartphones and laptops.

At least half of your website visitors will be using a smartphone with a screen size of 3 inch wide by 6 inch tall or less. But your web designer will use a large screen of at least 14 inches wide. The important point is to make sure your site functions properly on all screen sizes.

Modern web designs are mobile responsive.

If you’re dealing with a good web design agency or a skilled freelancer, they’ll understand you want a mobile responsive web design. Even if you’re hiring a student or hobbyist, they should know you need your website to be mobile responsive.

It’s best to make sure.

However, it’s best to be sure before committing yourself and your money. So tell your web designer that you want your site to be mobile responsive. Given that smartphones have been available for 15 years, your web designer should assure you that your site will be mobile responsive. 

So, most modern web designs are mobile responsive, but… 

What Does Mobile Responsive Mean? 

Mobile responsiveness means your website is coded to display your content properly on large and small devices. Whether using a smartphone or laptop, if you have a mobile responsive web design, your site visitor can be confident that everything will appear and function properly.

Tech tip: media queries.

Web designers use special computer code called media queries to ensure the layout works on big and small screens.

Is the website you’re about to buy mobile responsive?

Ask your designer if the design is mobile responsive. If you’re buying a WordPress theme, there will usually be a demo site you can look at. Test that demo site using your smartphone, and ask your friends and family to test it on their smartphones too. See how it looks on different devices. While most WordPress themes are mobile responsive, certain themes are better optimized for small screens. So shop around and choose carefully.

Mobile responsive or mobile first?

There is a slight difference between mobile-responsive and mobile-first design. But in both cases the outcome is a website that is optimised for both laptops and smartphones. With mobile responsive design, you build the site to work on a laptop, then adjust the design so it works on mobiles too. With mobile first design, you build the site primarily for mobile screen sizes and then adjust the design so it works well on laptops. 

Smartphone website problems.

Three of the main reasons mobile users will leave your website early are…

  • Your website loads slowly.
  • Your design is not mobile responsive.
  • The site navigation is difficult to use.

How many of your site visitors will use smartphones?

You can get some idea by asking yourself the circumstances in which people visit your site. When someone needs your services, are they likely to be in the office working on a laptop, or away from their desk and so viewing on their smartphone? Another good test is if they need your service in an emergency, such as a car breakdown recovery service, in that case their only option is to use their smartphone. 

However, if choosing your service takes a lot of research and planning, such as choosing an interior design service, customers are more likely to use a laptop to do that research and planning.

Your website statistics.

Your web hosting company might provide simple website statistics telling you how many of your site visitors use smartphones and how many use laptops and desktops. You can also install Google Analytics software on your website which provides a lot more details about your site visitors. 

How to be kind to mobile users.

  • Avoid any slow loading features.
  • Serve smaller images to mobile users and larger images to laptop users. 
  • Limit the use of auto run videos or automatically sliding elements.
  • Eliminate fancy features that are distracting or unnecessary.
  • Make the text big enough to read on a small screen.
  • Make links and buttons easy to click by providing space around them.
  • Make sure smartphone users can do everything laptop users can do.

An idiot in a hurry.

The term an idiot in a hurry is not a nice description of your site visitor, but it helps you understand how you should approach designing for smartphones. If an idiot in a hurry would get frustrated with your website and leave before carrying out their task or goal, customers using smartphones will abandon your site too. 

An idiot in a hurry is like a canary in a coal mine. If it departs unexpectedly, you know you’ve got a problem.

Key take away from this article.

Ensure your key content is easily findable, loads quickly, and is readable on both smartphones and desktops. 

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