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Spend any time researching current web design trends and you will hear all about responsive, or mobile friendly design. Responsive refers to your website automatically displaying itself in a way that is optimized for the device’s screen size. Responsive design as become exceedingly important in the last couple of years, both from a user experience standpoint, but also for search engine optimization.
in 2015 mobile access to internet overtook desktop access; a trend that continues today. The fact is that 90% of North Americans have cell phones, and more and more of them are smart phones every year. Go into your local wireless provider, and see how many “feature phone” models they still offer. It will become very clear that smart phone usage is quickly becoming ubiquitous.
It seems obvious that more and more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices than desktop computers. As business owners, we need to make sure that our websites accommodate those visitors with a great user experience. If we fail to do so, we risk loosing them to our competition, who’s site is likely already responsively designed.
Before we go any deeper let’s look at two terms that we see a lot. Often the two are used interchangeably, but they actually do have different meanings.
Mobile Friendly: This means that the design will display well on mobile devices. It uses a single layout that scales well for both desktop and mobile use.
Responsive: Responsive sites use media queries to determine the screen width. The site then uses a set of design rules to change the layout as needed to optimize for the screen width. Fore example, content may be laid out in columns for desktop, and then it stacks for mobile.
If your site was designed in the last few years, it may already be responsive. Many popular platforms have been supporting responsive design for several years. If your website is based on a content management systems like WordPress or Joomla, the theme or template you use will determine if your site is or is not responsive. Google has created a very handy mobile-friendly test to determine if your site fits their criteria for being mobile friendly. In April of 2015, Google started weighing this heavily for its page rankings for mobile searches. Basically, if you search from a mobile device, then mobile-friendly or responsive sites will rank higher on your search results.
The test is looking at 3 main factors to make its determination about whether your site is mobile friendly.
The first thing you need to know if if your site is built on a Content Management System (CMS). If your site was not built with a CMS, the site may need to be redesigned from the ground up. If the site was designed using a CMS then you could employ one of two basic approaches:
It seems obvious that one of the best ways to ensure that your business’ website is effective is to make sure that people can access it, and find what they are looking for. With web traffic shifting more and more to mobile, that means you need to adapt. Speak to your website’s developer to see what his or her recommendations are. If you built your site yourself, then take a look at the plugin and theme change options. If you need some help with implementing the changes, feel free to contact us, and let us know how we can be of assistance.
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