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Why Your Business Needs Responsive Design

By: Dan Redding

As we’ve all heard by now, responsive web design is the strategy that contends that a website should respond to the user’s device, platform, and screen size. If you’ve read our articles Responsive Design 101 and 102, you already know that a responsive website will conform beautifully to your desktop computer, your iPhone, or any other gadget that you or the folks at Apple can dream up. What you may not know is this: a responsive website is a necessity for your business. Here’s why.

Responsive Design is an Industry Standard

The concept of responsive design has come a long way since Ethan Marcotte popularized it with a seminal article published in 2010. Since then, responsive design has been embraced as an industry standard. Social media publication Mashable declared 2013 “The year of responsive web design.” Influential web design publications like Smashing Magazine see (2011’s ‘Responsive Web Design: What it is and How to Use It’) have been on board for years.

In short, a responsive website is a necessity for the modern digital audience. If all you offer is a desktop version of your site, you might have a frustrated mobile audience pinching and scrolling around the desktop version of your site, confused about why the text is small and the interface kinda seems broken on their iPhone or other handheld device.

Responsive design we created for Pop Cart Lab

Now’s the part where you might find yourself furrowing your brow, exclaiming, “But I just updated my website with a beautiful new design two years ago!” It’s a fair point – web design evolves at rapid pace. The truth is that responsiveness is not a trend or a gimmick, but a necessity that was developed to harness and respond to the booming mobile and tablet landscape. The devices we use to connect with each other online will continue to change; responsive design attempts to provide the flexibility that’s necessary to change with them.

Responsive Design Means a Bigger Audience

Going responsive means reaching out to users on all devices: desktop, mobile, tablet, and beyond. Cast a wide net, and you’re providing a welcoming experience to your site visitors. iPhone users, for example, deserve a user experience that is tailored to fit their device. These audiences are growing – and fast.

Mobile is big, and it just keeps getting bigger. According to Google, smartphone use among the U.S. population increased from 31% in 2011 to 44% in 2012. That means that in 2013, your website might be visited by more smartphone users than desktop computer users.

Mobile Graph

Tablet growth is booming, too. In fact, tablet sales could eclipse laptop sales in the next few years. If your business intends to maximize its reach, these users can’t be neglected.

A responsive website design is a welcoming embrace for these users. It’s time to provide a comfortable user experience to the users who could be your primary audience as soon as 2014.

A Responsive Future

Upgrade your website to a responsive design today, and you’re making a decision to be adaptable. New gadgets will emerge down the road, and the flexible spirit of responsive design aims to respond accordingly. So don’t be daunted: responsive design means going with the flow of an ever-changing Internet.

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