Responsive Website Design – What, Why & How

Is your website responsive and does it matter?

Increasingly, website owners are becoming familiar with the technical lingo and a popular question in Discovery Calls is:

Will my new website be responsive?

In this article, we:

  1. Outline the driver of the mobile-first movement
  2. Define “website responsiveness”
  3. Show you how to check your website statistics to see what device your users are on. Do you need to worry about responsiveness?
  4. Show you how you can test your own website’s responsiveness

The Driver of the Mobile-First Movement

The Mobile First Movement

In 2016, Google officially announced the rolling out of its “mobile-first index”. With an ever-increasing number of users accessing the Internet from their smartphones, Google jumped into position to lead the movement. [Source: Search Engine Land, Nov 9/16]

In fact, around 2016 is the time when some businesses took Mobile First seriously and built entirely new websites just for mobile, essentially running two websites (mobile and desktop). Other businesses started taking responsiveness more seriously on their main websites to ensure their websites were at least passable on smartphones, worked properly and contained similar functionality as the larger website design. 

At Fun4business, we opted to pursue increasing our development of fully-functioning and completely responsive websites, customized for 3 or 4 different views: 

As you might guess, a lot more work goes into designing a fully responsive page; however, this is probably a similar workload to maintaining an entirely separate website.

What is Responsiveness?

Responsive Web Design Driver and Background

“Responsive Web Design is about making a website look good on all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones)”

As you can imagine, a website will look and function differently on a boardroom wall TV as compared with a tiny smartphone. 

And this can be a technical detail that a lot of website owners don’t put much thought into or care about… “la la la la la… I’m not listening!” 😋 

However, as previously mentioned, this is becoming a popular requirement from small business owners looking to redesign their websites, and a standard deliverable by web design companies.

Do You Need to Prioritize a Mobile First Website?

In other words: Are YOUR website visitors viewing your website on their phones or on their computers? 

This is an easy statistic to view if you have website statistics enabled on your website, like Google Analytics. Additionally, some web hosts provide website stats too, but may not include this specific one. 

Review your “User Devices” Statistics

Go into your website statistics and look for Device Used data to see the % of people visiting your website on various device sizes. This is an extremely important stat! Even though Google is all-in on mobile first, I continue to see client sites that are visited over 90% and more from a desktop computer. 

Here’s my latest stats: 

User Device Statistics

Just because a tech giant like Google says put mobile first, you need to assess your own business needs case and do proper analysis. I’ve seen statistics pointing to 99% of users of a client website being on their desktops. This makes it extremely difficult to advise my client to spend money on Mobile Website items. 

How you can test your own website’s responsiveness

Check out what your website looks like in different device sizes. This is really easy to do in the Firefox browser web. Here’s my video demonstration on how to test your website in Firefox.

And that's a wrap!

After all of this convincing, have you had a change of heart about responsiveness and how it applies to your website? Even though, as you saw above, the majority of users visiting the Fun4business website are on desktop computers, this doesn’t mean that we neglect our mobile traffic. We’ve found a way to systemize the process of designing our websites and making them look amazing, no matter what our visitor is using to browse our website. 

Need help with your WordPress website?

A free 30-minute call with Allison at Fun4business can help sort everything out!

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Allison Kessler
Allison Kessler has been web designing professionally since 2002. She guides you through the website design process and helps you keep your website updated and secure. She lives in Calgary Canada with her adorable toddler and is usually found outside hiking and enjoying the Rocky Mountains.

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