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What is responsive design?

Learn the importance of responsive designs for business websites. Know what to do for testing, signs for unresponsive design, and the steps to fix them.

Written By: 

Erick Leon


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Intro to Responsive web design

The way we use the internet is changing. More and more, people are viewing websites on their mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This trend has led to a new approach to website design called responsive web design, which makes it possible for your site to look good no matter what device visitors are using.

With responsive web design, a website is built to be flexible and fluid. This means that the page will adjust to fit different screen sizes and orientations without the user having to zoom or scroll around.

A responsive design website does not force mobile users to pinch and zoom in on a page. Instead, the layout will expand or contract depending on how much space is available for viewing.

Today, some websites are responsive, but there's still more work to be done. Here's everything you need to know about responsive design and how you can start elevating your brand's online experience.

Tips to Check Site Responsiveness

There are a number of tests that can be done to make sure your website is responsive. Here are a few:

  • Try resizing your browser window while you visit the page. If the site is changing to accommodate the window, then its responsive.
  • Open a new tab in your browser and change the orientation. Revisit your site and see if it still looks good.
  • If you're using web fonts on your website, try shrinking the font size in a different browser or tab. Web fonts can reduce the size of a page, so check if it looks fine.
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Signs of an Unresponsive Website

An unresponsive website does not adjust itself for mobile and tablet devices. How frustrating is it to visit your website on your mobile device only to find it is still displayed the same way as if you were using a desktop computer?

Because of this, responsive websites are more user-friendly than unresponsive ones. Here are a few telltale signs that your website may need responsive treatment:

  • The font size is too big, causing the content to be hard to read on smartphones and tablets.
  • The layout doesn't work well in a vertical orientation (such as portrait mode for phones) because there are too many columns or the site uses heavy graphics on big background images.
  • Your website is almost impossible to use on a smartphone because it relies heavily on Flash or JavaScript.
  • The site is nearly unusable without zooming in, which can be a problem for people with bad eyesight.
  • Content that pushes the browser right off the screen (obviously, not ideal)
  • Blurry images or pixelated text
  • Unusable features (like the call-to-action button at the bottom of the screen)

It can be really annoying if you're trying to be responsive and your site appears in the search results for a smartphone-related keyword but isn't actually mobile-optimized.

So take the time to check if your website is up to snuff on mobile devices. A quick way to test is using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test from the search console, which now tells you if your site is mobile-friendly.

Why Responsive Website Development is a Must for Attracting Gen Z

image of a hand browsing a social media feed in a coffee shop

A responsive website design is important for many reasons, especially if your site targets a younger audience. Here are three reasons why your website needs to be responsive for Gen Z users:

  • This generation isn't just using their smartphones and tablets to do research. They also use them to make purchases, so if your site is hard to navigate on a smartphone, it's going to be much harder for these users to buy your product or service.
  • Many of the websites that young people visit are already optimized for touchscreens (so they don't need to zoom in), making the entire website experience that much better. If you don't have a responsive site, it will be harder for these users to navigate on their mobile devices.
  • This generation is incredibly impatient, and if your page takes forever to load, they'll likely leave it, or worse yet, close it completely. If your site doesn't load well on mobile, that will be a huge turnoff for this generation.
  • Studies have shown that the majority of Gen Z uses social media constantly, with text and instant messaging still being popular for smartphone use. This is why they are likely to expect your website to be responsive as well.
  • You don't have to worry about having different versions of your site for each device since it's all the same. You will keep your audience on their toes and create a more memorable brand image by being responsive on mobile devices.

Final Thoughts

A responsive website is a design that will have the same content and functionality on any device it's viewed on, making it easy for young Gen Zers to find what they're looking for.

For these reasons, responsive website development should be at the top of your list if you want to attract young buyers today. Make sure you optimize your site, so you appeal to this generation and remain a go-to choice for customers in the future.

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