What's the deal with "responsive Web design"? | Ask Red Rokk

By Tyler Byrd
CEO, Red Rokk Interactive
Contributing Writer

Q: I recently heard someone mention “Responsive-Adaptive” Web design. Can you explain what that is and why it’s a good thing? Can an existing website be “retrofitted” to be responsive, or does this mean building a new site from scratch?

A: This is a very popular subject lately, and for good reason. Responsive Web design is the process of creating websites that show up correctly on any device. This means that, regardless of whether you view the site on your smartphone, tablet or desktop, the design, layout, and potential call-to-action you see is different.

A responsive website is crafted to provide each user with the best experience possible, regardless of how they are viewing your site. This may mean making buttons larger, adjusting the menu, and/or getting rid of a sidebar.

This is very important, as “mobile users” comprise more 20 percent of Web traffic. Currently this is weighted toward smartphone users who account for 14.6 percent, while tablets are only 5.6 percent.

But don’t let those numbers fool you. Tablet usage is increasing at a rate of more 300 percent.

Mobile users in general are growing at an incredible rate, as more and more users continue to replace their laptops for tablets and smartphones. Morgan Stanley projects that mobile users will actually surpass desktop users sometime in 2014.

On top of this, mobile users tend to be more context-driven. This means that they are more likely to be looking at your website in their moment of need.

A common example of this is a shopper standing in a retail store trying to decide between Brand A or Brand B. These types of users are typically using their smartphones to help them make their buying decisions.

There are a lot of compelling statistics that are driving mobile marketing and the need for responsive Web design.

For example, tablet users spend 20 percent more time online than desktop users on average. They shop online more frequently, purchase more products online and tend to be wealthier and more educated buyers.

With all that said, responsive Web design is not for everyone. There are some circumstances where a company or site owner would not want to create a responsive website such as the existence of a mobile app you would like users to download instead, or if your site takes too long to load and it would be better to create a dedicated mobile site.

As far as retrofitting an existing site, it is possible to retrofit almost any website to make it responsive.This would typically consist of rebuilding what is referred to as the “theme,” or front end of a website.

The key factor here is making your website as useful to your viewers as possible.

Don’t assume that they are always making decisions regarding your goods or services from their desk.  In fact, as time goes by, that scenario could very well be a thing of the past.

Having trouble effectively reaching your target market?  Let us answer your questions about marketing, advertising, website design and development, social media, SEO or anything else related to the promotion of your business. Send questions to the Red Rokk Interactive team by email at info@redrokk.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tyler Byrd is CEO of Red Rokk Interactive, a marketing and advertising agency located in Bellingham. The company specializes in developing high impact campaigns that create awareness and drive sales. Columns from the Red Rokk Interactive team appear on BBJToday.com on the first Tuesday of every month. Red Rokk is online at www.redrokk.com

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