A recent study has attested the scope of responsive designs in coming years. In U.S alone, approx. 29 % of web users have shifted from desktops to mobile phones for browsing; and most mobile websites are carved out of responsive templates. However, the debate of ‘Responsive: Hype or solution’ is yet to reach a conclusion. Some interesting facts that you must have missed out may change your outlook.
Display will not affect load times
Although the term ‘responsive’ advocates for a faster and brisker web browsing experience, it still doesn’t mean efficient loading on screens with lesser resolution. That is, the website will respond with equal time constraints even if lesser content is displayed. The essence of responsive approach goes beyond just ensuring everything fits well on a screen. Although compressing of images is provided in responsive designs, it largely affects the appearance and not the load times. Thus, the idea of adapting a responsive design because it will load differently on different device sizes makes no sense.
Search engines have given it thumbs up!
For those drenched in the arguments claiming lowered Search engine rankings of responsive designs, Google has discharged a statement recommending developers and designers to adapt receptive approach towards website building. The Google webmasters guide says:
“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”
Responsive designs make it easier for the search engines to crawl to your website. This strengthens your virtual presence and garners more traffic.
It may confuse the user, sometimes!
The best examples are personal blogs. The standard design (followed by millions of blogs) has the post on either side and the index on the other. Plus a plugin that shows the blog followers is located above the index and the social network following just below it. While desktop friendly websites built with a conventional non-responsive approach follow this protocol, a couple of responsive web designs appear differently on desktop and mobile displays. Compare a ‘responsive’ blog on the two displays simultaneously.
The bigger display has the necessary features at the right place but you may have to scroll left-right, top-bottom to search them. Yes, it is a poor approach and responsive designing on a whole can’t be blamed, but then alternatives are few and unsatisfactory.
It directly influences your SEO campaigns!
A responsive website design is speculated to have eliminated the requirement of a separate mobile website. This develop once and run across devices has emerged as a boon for digital marketing agencies. Firstly, responsive designs are easily located by search engines (as discussed earlier) and secondly they strip down the need of multiple SEO campaigns for multiple sites. Built one and advertise for one is cost effective and result oriented.
Most sites can be transformed into responsive
Yet another point to make responsive lovers happy is the fact that conventional sites can be converted into a responsive one, though not all fit into the classification. Websites backed by heavy database tables and fed with splurging HD videos might fail. However, most websites can be converted, enduring 60-70% of total cost in re-building a new website. Thus, spending some time in redesigning a website is wise. It’s like renovating your room; some objects may be reusable and others may not.
It requires excessive testing
A responsive design has to cater the accessibility needs of various devices. It has to show up all features in different devices, though they would appear differently. Thus, conducting functional and non functional testing should be of prime importance. Even a responsive design would fail at delivering performance of apical standards if sufficient test scripts are not run. Plus, you may also try browsing the website on different OS and Mobile platforms such as iOS, Android and Windows.
Responsive is not Mobile
Perhaps the biggest misconception about Responsive web designing is the definition ‘website designs built for mobile platforms are responsive designs’. If you were hiding below the hood and kept yourself at bay from the trends across, mobiles and tablets are the most benefited devices from responsive approach at website designing. Responsive designs as a whole are meant for all devices. Even the desktop users have accepted a recognisable difference with this emerging trend. However, handheld devices can be perceived as a source of initiating a discussion about the ‘Responsive’ capacity.
It is not a technology
Designing responsive websites is a trend and not a technology. It is a specific approach of empowering websites to behave in accordance with the device and other aspects. However, it is speculated that the trend has cemented its stature and will continue to rule for a few years now. Subsequently, advancements across technology sectors are unpredictable and Responsive websites will meet its fate.
Navigation is essential
Smooth browsing is an integral offering from responsive designs and thus navigation has to be brisk. It is important to stress focus on the width of browsers so that routing through different web pages becomes easier. Subsequently, the website should display clutter free content.